Family day at Great Western to raise money for Rover Dream project

Amanda Mahncke, Deidre Coone and Jodie Thompson with the 1912 Rover. The family will head off on the Adelaide to Darwin Veteran Rally next week.

Amanda Mahncke, Deidre Coone and Jodie Thompson with the 1912 Rover. The family will head off on the Adelaide to Darwin Veteran Rally next week.

A LONG held dream of their late husband and father will see Deidre Coone and daughters Jodie Thompson and Amanda Mahncke take up the baton and hit the road next week on a restored 1912 Rover motorbike in the Adelaide to Darwin Veteran Rally.

The Ararat and Great Western communities are invited a family barbecue this Sunday at the Great Western Football Clubrooms to give the women a great send off.

Taking on this wonderful adventure wouldn't be complete without raising funds for a cause and East Grampians Health Service (Ararat Hospital) will benefit from any money raised through donations given to the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation Ararat Branch, which works towards new facilities and purchase of much needed medical facilities and equipment.

The Rover dream had its beginnings in 2012, when Great Western's Greg Coone took part in an expedition across Australia for cars and motorcycles (pre 1918) honouring the first crossing of Australia from Perth to Sydney, as a co-rider for Neil Bromilow with Neil's restored 1912 Rover motorcycle.

With a life-long passion for all things mechanical, ranging from small engines to earth moving machines, it was only natural that Greg would return from this trip with a need to have his own veteran motorcycle.

The purchase of his own 1912 Rover was made with the aim to ride it on the next Veteran Rally - Adelaide to Darwin in August this year.

Sadly Greg lost his short battle with lung cancer in October 2012, but right to the end the Rover was still a major focus and comfort to him.

A promise was made to Greg that 'his girls' - wife Deidre and daughters Jodie and Amanda would make the trip with the Rover.

Many people have helped along the way to see that Jodie and Amanda guide The Rover to Darwin. Long-time friends of the Coone family, Ian and Jenny Sargent of Ararat have been the driving force behind the motorcycle restoration.

The decision to raise funds for the Ararat Hospital was easy.

In 1992 Greg, while riding his motorcycle, had a head on collision with another motorcyclist. After many operations his recovery was spent at the Ararat Hospital.

Doctors, nurses and all staff went above and beyond during Greg's recovery, something he never forgot and it was because of this the family decided that while completing the Rover dream to Darwin was a priority, raising funds for the hospital through the Blue Ribbon Foundation was also vital.

This Sunday's family day will feature a barbecue from 12.30pm onwards and afternoon tea, entertainment and a raffle with plenty of draws.

The Blue Ribbon Foundation will also present the Rover Dream participants with specially designed protective gear and caps .

Donations to the Rover Dream project can be made through the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation - Ararat Branch via cash, cheque or direct debit to support East Grampians Health Service (Ararat Hospital). All donations of $2 and over are tax deductible and invoice/receipt can be provided.

Many businesses, organisations and individuals have already made a support donation to the project and now have their name/logo on the trailer which will promote Ararat and the Foundation's work along the journey to Darwin and back to Adelaide - a total of well over 6,000 kilometres.

The Rover Dream ride will kick off on August 3 from Adelaide.

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