Blue Tree visits outback
Tuesday, 3rd March, 2020
By Emily McInerney
A Holden Special Vehicle had a pit stop yesterday and attracted the attention of police and passers by alike in Argent Street.
Dee Pittman-White and Steve Pittman, from York in Western Australia, arrived in their shiny racing car, and bearing a message of hope.
The couple own Spartan 1 Motorsport and have entered the Bathurst 6-Hour race for several years now.
After their successful outing in a mighty Suzuki Swift at the 2019 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6-Hour where they came first in Class E and 21st outright in a field of 44 cars, they felt the need for more speed.
“We competed a couple of times in a Suzuki Swift but we found it wasn’t powerful enough so we decided to upgrade to the big car and we purchased that in May last year,” Dee said.
Their choice of a VE GTS proved a good one and it has given them category, state and national wins.
It was also entered in the 2018 Bathurst 6-Hour and finished ninth outright and 3rd in the class A2 category.
After purchasing the car, the couple decided they wanted to do more than just race it.
“Steve and I have both been touched by suicide,” Dee said.
“I suffer with depression and anxiety and attempted suicide during a domestic violence relationship,” she said.
“Steve lost a family member to suicide.
“We wanted to raise awareness and get people talking, so we teamed up with the Blue Tree Project.
“We want to get the car to Bathurst and raise awareness.”
She said the car was a fantastic talking point.
“People come up to us and share their experience, they hear about our experiences and they open up.
“You would be surprised at the number who have been touched by suicide or suffer from depression and anxiety.
“Men are terrible at talking, but they will come up and start talking about the car, then we see them open up.”
The couple are on their way to Rappville, NSW.
“We both have family there and the town was touched by the recent fires. There are a lot of people suffering from depression.”
In about a month’s time, Steve and Dee will drive back through to Bathurst.
Due to the nature and power of their racing car, Dee and Steve needed a police escort to get into the city yesterday.
“We have a transporter to travel with the car, but we contacted Inspector Yvette Smith and she helped us get into town. She drove us around.”
The Blue Tree Project was started with the painting of a tree in honour of the late Jayden Whyte as he had once painted a tree blue on his family’s property at Mukinbudin as a joke.
In 2014, Jayden painted a dead tree blue in the middle of a paddock on his family’s farm. But in 2018, Jayden took his own life.
The special story of the blue tree was told at Jayden’s funeral by Tjarda Tiedeken who joined him in painting the first blue tree.
From there his family developed the initiative, in the hope it would save lives. They wanted to let people know it was OK to feel blue once in a while, but there was always help out there.
(For more information visit www.bluetreeproject.com.au or www.spartanmotorsport.com.)
If you need support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, BeyondBlue 1300 224 636, MensLine 1300 789 978 or see more resources on the R U OK website.