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Mental health advocates complete the journey of a lifetime

Mental health advocates, Margaret Symes and Alli Nevill, will today complete their epic 327-kilometre outback walk from Tibooburra to Broken Hill.

For Mrs Symes, this is her second walk, after completing the “Step into Spring” fundraiser walk from Tibooburra from Broken Hill in 2021, raising more than $22,000 in the process.

The pair commenced their walk at Albert Hall in Tibooburra on Saturday, November 25th and joined the Country Women’s Association’s Christmas Bazaar, and arrived at the Packsaddle Roadhouse last Saturday for a meat raffle and the drawing of the winner of the major prize raffle, valued at $10,000.

Sally Crozier won the major prize raffle, telling the Truth that she was out of service at Koonawarra Station and she “found out the next day via the old Bush telegraph.”

“My husband and I were mustering and (Lisa O’Connor from Nundooka Station) was able to get him on the UHF when he was flying,” she laughed.

The Clark Barrett windmill blade went to Owen Roberts for $1500, and the Packsaddle Progress Association donated $5,000 to the campaign, and donated a further $5,000 to the RFDS Women’s Auxiliary.

During the walk, the pair traversed rugged landscape, and dealt with some particularly nasty weather, especially in the opening days of their trek.

The weather might have calmed down as the walk progressed, but the temperature rose rapidly, creating more challenges for the dynamic duo.

Nevertheless, a stoic Ms Symes noted that “despite some rain and winds, last week’s weather was easy-going. Having Alli with me and being able to talk and laugh together helps me see things in a different light.”

She went on to say that having Ms Nevill with her means the trek is “completely different to the first time, [as] I was just focused on walking, but this time I am actually enjoying taking it all in.”

Ms Nevill echoed these comments, mentioning that it’s been “the best experience. Marg is an inspiration and Ross [Marg’s husband who is following along in the support car] is unbelievable. It is such a tremendous feeling to be involved.”

The pair will arrive in Broken Hill today, and anyone who would like to walk the final five kilometres with the pair as they come through Argent Street, can join them anywhere between 10am-10.30am.

They will then attend a charity auction at the Demo Club from 6.30pm tonight.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating … at the Demo Club for the charity auction where they will be some great items available. We’ll be aiming to raise even more awareness and funds for the RFDS Wellbeing Place,” Ms Symes noted.

Two Mundi Bash tickets, as well as painted windmill blades by local artists Trudi Rennie, Amanda Johnson, and Clark Barrett, and a signed Taylor Walker guernsey, will all be auctioned off throughout the evening.

The walk allowed the pair to fundraise and raise awareness for the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Mental Health programs across Far West NSW, as part of the RFDS Wellbeing Place in Broken Hill.

This service provides direct clinical services to those living in remote communities to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

A psychologist, mental health nurses, social workers, alcohol and other drug clinicians, counsellors, community engagement officers, and a play therapist, are all included in the team on the ground, with demand for further services only increasing.

In concluding, Ms Symes and Ms Nevill thanked “those who has supported us along the 300-kilometre journey. Everyone has been so generous with their time and support.”

PICTURE: Alli Nevill and Marg Symes on their trek from Tibooburra to Broken Hill. Photo Supplied.

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