Friendly Society Private Hospital Chairman of the Board Les Hancock decided to launch The Friendlies Cycling Tour after The Friendlies Foundation started raising money in April 2016.
Les, along with wife Shelley and son Damian had founded a previous charity cycling event, RideWest, in 2010 to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Men’s Mental health.
After event managing five successful charity rides, The Hancock family stepped away from the event management of RideWest, with Les remaining as chairman, so they could pursue bringing a similar event to Bundaberg.
“I have been a board member at The Friendlies since 1999 and the chairman since 2015 and one of the most exciting things we have been able to do is launch The Friendlies Foundation in 2016,” Les said.
In 2017, The Friendlies Foundation hosted the inaugural High Country Tour, raising $40,000 for the charity.
Twenty-one cyclists participated in the demanding ride through Bundaberg and the North Burnett over the May long weekend, from April 29 to May 1.
With overnight stops in Biggenden and Mt Perry, two groups of riders set out for the same destination each day, each taking a challenging but picturesque route of 100km or 200km daily, battling all terrains along the way.
As the first High Country Tour, Mr Hancock said he was very happy with the feedback from riders and sponsors.
“All the riders were very pleased with the event, the feedback we have had has been amazing,” Mr Hancock said.
“Both the cause they were riding for and the way the ride was organised were both praised by everyone during the weekend.”
“This ride has been a fantastic opportunity to partner with local Bundaberg businesses like Auswide, Ulton and Morgans and we are thankful for their support in helping this inaugural event come to fruition and the support they have helped generate for The Friendlies Foundation,” he said.
In 2020, The Friendlies Foundation has organised The Friendlies Hinterland & Coastal Charity Ride, which will be held over three days – Friday, March 27 to Sunday, March 29.
The Ride will be in two groups and go from Bundaberg to Biggenden, Biggenden to Woodgate Beach and Woodgate Beach to Bundaberg.