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Deb rides for home

Saturday, 6th April, 2019

Deb Newitt on one of her two horses that will carry her from Pooncarie to Menindee next week. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Deb Newitt on one of her two horses that will carry her from Pooncarie to Menindee next week. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Menindee local Deb Newitt is riding a horse 122 kilometres from Pooncarie to Menindee next week to raise money for the Menindee Tourism Association and help her home town.

Heading off Monday morning from the Old Wolf Cafe in Pooncarie, Deb expects to be back in Menindee on Thursday.

But the fundraiser, which is to help improve the Association’s building and boost tourism, will start tomorrow with a separate event for Pooncarie businesses.

“We’re going down on Sunday to Pooncarie and we’re doing a raffle down there for those guys, to create a bit of business there,” said Deb.

“Then on Monday morning I’m planning on starting about 7:30 in the morning, riding for four hours and then stopping for about an hour for lunch.

“I’ll also swap horses then because I’ve got two, and ride the other one for another four hours.

“I’m planning on doing eight hours a day. I’ve got a goal of about 35 to 40 kilometres a day so that should get me back in Menindee by Thursday.

“Then we’ve got a big event on Friday night at the Maiden’s Hotel.

“There’s a big prize draw there of 22 prizes and it’s going to be a mystery draw.

“I’ll have raffle tickets with me and they can buy a ticket or several, but if they don’t want to do that they’re more than welcome to donate if they’d like.”

Having already raised $2,500, Deb said the fundraiser was also about helping Menindee following a difficult time in town in the wake of the three mass fish kills there.

“I just want to help out the town,” she said.

“I live here, I love this little town and with the fish kill and everything, it’s a little bit in dire straits.”

More money to improve the Tourism Association, of which her partner Rob Gregory is president, would help provide an extra boost and get more people to come out and explore it, said Deb.

“We need to do some things for the Tourism Association,” said Deb. 

“For example, we still owe ten grand for the building so the money could go towards finishing paying off that.

“We also want to do some refurbishments and update it a little bit, give it a paint job, put in a new bathroom out back and maybe down the track put in a new counter in and sort of modernise it a little bit. Make it a bit more inviting.

“It’s just to help the town, it’s not for me, it’s for all of us. It’s to try and get some tourism here.”

As for the ride itself, Deb said she wasn’t too worried about it and that she’d have great support along the way.

“My horses are good. They’re well trained, they’re quiet, and they’re good with traffic,” she said.

“I’ve had them all my life. My mare is ten going on eleven and I’ve had her since she was eight weeks old.

“The gelding that I’ve got, he’s one that I bred out of my mare and he’s four. 

“They’re both very good horses.

“I’d like to thank Rob for his support because he’s coming along in the caravan behind me which will provide a bit of comfort for me because I’m going to be exhausted each day.

“I’d also like to thank my mum as well as she’ll be in the front vehicle with the float on, and those vehicles will have big banners on them saying ‘slow down, horses ahead, fundraiser.’

“Without their support I couldn’t do this.”

Along with Bob Marsh at the Old Wolf Cafe, the Pooncarie Racetrack and the Pooncarie Pub, Deb also wanted to thank all the Menindee businesses that had helped out.

“I would like to thank, on behalf of myself and the Menindee Tourism Association, all the businesses here that have supported me, as well as the town with selling raffle tickets and donating prizes into the raffle.

“It’s been overwhelming the support that I’ve had and the town has given.”

If you can’t make it to the fundraiser but would like to make a donation instead you can do so by contacting the Menindee Tourism Association at (08) 8091 4274 and asking for bank details.

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