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Red Centre ride to raise funds for Red Shield Appeal

Red Centre ride to raise funds for Red Shield Appeal

Red Centre ride to raise funds for Red Shield Appeal

15 March 2017

The traditional Kings Canyon Cruise, pictured above, will this year be replaced with the West Macs Cruise, to raise vital funds for the Red Shield Appeal in the Northern Territory.

By Simone Worthing

Cyclists are gearing up to support this year’s Red Shield Appeal in the Northern Territory with a 375km road ride through Australia’s Red Centre over the May Day weekend (29 April to 1 May).

The inaugural West Macs Cruise ride will start and finish in Alice Springs, following the West MacDonnell Ranges loop via the small townships of Glen Helen and Hermannsburg.

For this year only, to commemorate the opening of the sealed road, the West Macs Cruise is replacing the annual Kings Canyon Cruise 500km ride, which has been running since 1994.

“The ride is almost like a pilgrimage, something you never forget,” said Major Adye Viney. “I did the Kings Canyon Cruise four times and the sheer challenge of riding that distance, of experiencing the Outback, and the achievement of knowing you’ve ridden that far on a bike, is just amazing. I also built some great relationships with other riders, as we’re all going through the pain, and the joys, together!”

Major Adye Viney and Major Peter Wood, who have both taken part in the Kings Canyon Cruise.

Major Viney began riding the Kings Canyon Cruise when he served as the Alice Springs Corps Officer in the early 2000s. He had met the ride’s organiser when they were both out cycling, and then began cycling with others from the Alice Springs Cycling Club.

After he was appointed to Darwin as Corps Officer, Major Viney continued to stay in contact with the club. He brought some Salvationists down from Darwin to join the ride and volunteer as support crew. “Given that the club was now supporting The Salvation Army through their fundraising, we wanted to make sure we supported it as much as possible,” he said.

The Alice Springs Cycling Club continues to organise the rides and is fully supportive of programs and services provided by The Salvation Army in Alice Springs and throughout the Northern Territory. The Red Shield Appeal has been the beneficiary of funds raised through the ride for the past eight years.

“Each year the ride raises approximately $4000 for the appeal and is an excellent way for us to engage with the community,” said Sarah Roberts, Public Relationships Secretary for The Salvation Army in the Northern Territory. “This year we will be hosting our Red Shield Appeal event launch, a breakfast at the start line of the cycle.”

Captains Nari and Stuart McGifford, Alice Springs Corps Officers who took up their appointment just two months ago, are planning to connect with the cyclists, not just through providing trailers for the ride, but to show them what a difference their ride will make.

“I am passionate about helping those who fundraise for us through this ride to see that it’s not just about the funds and the exercise, it’s about the difference they make to people in their communities,” said Captain Nari. “We want to get in there and work with the group so they feel part of us, connected, and that they’re riding for a purpose.

“The funds raised by the cycle will go into the appeal, with many returning to fund local projects such as The Waterhole Community Centre, men’s hostel, supported independent living units, the ‘Towards Independence’ program assisting families from transitional to permanent housing, the AOD rehabilitation program ‘Men taking Control’, Indigenous programs, and a community engagement worker.

“There are a range of different funding sources for our programs, however, we are reliant on funding brought in by the Red Shield Appeal,” said Captain Nari.

Riders will spend the first night camping at the spectacular Ormiston Gorge campground, and the second at the historical Hermannsburg campground.

“The road is good, the views are spectacular, there are waterholes to swim in and, of course, great company,” said Andrea Martin, a volunteer from the Cycling Club who is organising the ride.

The cost of the ride is $200. Riders are also asked to raise sponsorship for the Red Shield Appeal, which will be used for Salvation Army services in the Northern Territory.

To register online, go to

For further information contact Captain Nari McGifford at or, Andrea Martin at



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