Mighty Murray Meander reels in new member

CHARITABLE: Robyn Smith is ready to tackle the Murray Charity Meander. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY
CHARITABLE: Robyn Smith is ready to tackle the Murray Charity Meander. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

A BENDIGO businesswoman will take to the water next week for the Murray Charity Meander.A & J Couriers owner Robyn Smith will put her boating skills to the test for the 735km Murray River adventure, which starts on February 24.Ms Smith is the only Bendigo resident registered for the event and is a member of Shepparton-based team Aquaholics.“My sister and brother-in-law were at a boat show and saw the event advertised,” she said.“At Christmas they said, ‘Why don’t you join us?’“I’ve never even been in a tinny but I said, ‘Yes’, and went out and got my boat licence and now it’s all going ahead.”The Murray Charity Meander is now in its seventh year and is organised by registered charity the Horizon Committee.During this year’s event, a field of 34 boats will travel from Bringenbrong Bridge to Echuca. Proceeds from the fundraising initiative will go towards breast cancer and prostate cancer research and support.Last year’s event raised $80,000 for the Otis Foundation – a Bendigo-based not-for-profit organisation that provides retreat accommodation for people with breast cancer.Event co-ordinator Dick Phillips said he would like to see more Bendigo people in future Murray Charity Meanders.“It really is a great event,” he said. “This year’s event is shaping up well. “The only hiccup we’ve run into so far is that there’s not much water up above Lake Hume, so that could be a bit challenging.“About two weeks ago a couple of us went up there and we did a 15km stretch and had to get out of the boat about eight times. “But I’m sure the teams will manage it and it will all be part of the fun.”Teams will meet in Colac on Friday before travelling from Bringenbrong Bridge to Tintaldra for the first leg of the boating adventure on Saturday. The Murray Charity Meander will include overnight stopovers in Tintaldra, Walwa, Lake Hume, Corowa, Yarrawonga, Bearii, Barmah and Echuca-Moama.The event finishes in the historic port of Echuca on March 3. Team Aquaholics has already raised $6450 in sponsorship but Ms Smith is calling on more people to support the cause.“Major sponsorship, which is recognised with signage on the tinny, is $250 or raffle tickets are $5 each,” she said.“It really is a great cause.“My mum died when I was 22 years old from breast cancer; she was 57. “Every little bit we can do to raise money for cancer helps.”To sponsor Aquaholics, phone Ms Smith on 0409 361 514. For more information about the Murray Charity Meander, visit www.murraymeander.com.au