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Ride and fish to aid Autism Queensland

Mark Chillcott with Cooktown Crusaders supporters - Ride for Autism hellboy
Mark with Cooktown Crusaders supporters

Riders who also love fishing have been invited to join the third annual 4572km Ride for Autism Queensland from Brisbane to Cooktown and back.

The riders and anglers will ride to some of Queensland’s most beautiful and secluded places for fishing, camping and other activities over 16 days from June 6 to 21, 2015.

Up to 30 riders are expected to join the Cooktown Crusaders, three fishermen – Peter Sheppard of Nambour, Les Wildman of Mackay and Mark Chillcott of Chinchilla – who came up with the charity ride idea after jumping on their bikes for a fishing trip up the east coast of Queensland.

Cooktown Crusaders founders (LtR) Mark Chillcott,Peter Sheppard, Les Wildman - Ride for Autism
Cooktown Crusaders founders (frm left) Mark Chillcott, Peter Sheppard and Les Wildman

All proceeds from the charity ride will go to Autism Queensland, the state’s longest-serving and most experienced agency with over 45 years of service to people living with autism and their families.

Last year, six riders raised about $5000 and this year they hope to get up to 30 riders and raise about $20,000, says Cooktown Crusaders founder Peter, whose 10-year-old son, Blair has autism.

Peter says he wants to raise autism awareness to help families like his who struggled with a lack of understanding of the disorder.

“When Blair was diagnosed I didn’t know what autism was,” he says. “We knew something was up with Blair since he was two; he never talked, he wouldn’t play with other kids, he’d line up his toys and he was a very, very fussy eater.

“We’ve had a lot of trouble with schools in the early years who basically pushed Blair into a corner and gave up on him. He’s been at Nambour Special School now for three years and is doing much better.”

The ride has 15 vehicles registered including a V8 Boss Hog and a variety of bikes. They say they need 15 more vehicles and they don’t all have to be bikes. Cars and 4WDs are also invited.

Activities for the 2015 ride include auctions, raffles and fishing competitions. The riders will also sell merchandise on the road such as t-shirts, hats and stubbie coolers which are also available on their website.

The ride fee is $200 which includes some meals and all camping accommodation. There is also a registration fee of $20 which includes a vest or jacket patch.

Cooktown Crusaders 2015 -  047

Registrations are now open at Donations can be made at their Everyday Hero page by searching Cooktown Crusaders.

You can also follow them on Facebook by searching Cooktown Crusaders.

Autism Queensland supports more than 3000 people of all ages living with autism, from early childhood right through to adulthood.

It runs Queensland’s only autism-specific schools at Brighton and Sunnybank, as well as Early Intervention Centres in Brisbane, Rockhampton, Cairns, Mackay and Gladstone. 

Its team of teachers, pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, support workers and social workers visit all schools in Queensland to train and support teachers and parents of children with autism. Services include early intervention, education and training, support, therapy and respite care.

You can visit to donate, and follow Autism Queensland on Facebook and Twitter @AutismQldLtd