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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Ride to raise awareness

The mascot is a little toy dog named Winston.

It’s a tribute to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who popularised the phrase ‘black dog’, which many interpret as a nod to his severe depression.

In 2009, the Black Dog Ride was formed in Australia to start a national conversation about depression and suicide prevention, with the inaugural solo trip going for 26 days across 15,000 kilometres.

The event went on to become a national charity, generating millions for mental health programs.

Now, in its 10th anniversary, a Black Dog Ride will take place in the Hunter Region for the first time next month.

Set to start in Sandgate, the 106-kilometre, two-hour ride will roar through Wallsend, Seahampton, Heddon Greta, Maitland, Paterson, and arrive back at Fighter World, Williamtown.

Shared coordinator Eddie Bell said he hoped the event would attract hundreds of riders.

“The Black Dog Ride started in Western Australia originally, but is now encompassing one-day rides,” he said.
“It will be the first time in Newcastle – there is normally one at the Central Coast but it’s not on this year.
“So, we’re expecting plenty of those riders to join us and help raise awareness about depression and suicide prevention.”

One in five Australians experience a mental health condition in any year, three million are living with depression or anxiety, eight take their life each day, and 180 people attempt to do so.

The Black Dog Ride states its intention is to break down the barrier of silence and encourage friends, family and colleagues to seek help.

Registrations for the Newcastle event will start at 7.30am on Sunday 17 March, with riders to set off around 9.30am.

A lunch and presentation will follow the ride at Fighter World.

For more information, visit blackdogride.com.au or go to the event’s Facebook page, Black Dog Ride – Newcastle.

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