FOLLOWING THE LEGEND OF ARCHER
“I’m just blown away by the people of this country”.
This is the way Olympian Ed Fernon begins to recount his 1,100km journey by horseback through Australia’s mountain wilderness in aid of depression research.
Just back from competing in Pentathlon in London, Ed embarked on the Following the Legend of Archer walk – finally fulfilling the tall tale that the legendary stallion walked his way to Melbourne to race and win the first two Melbourne Cups of 1861/2.
In a memorable send off on Monday October 1st - the people of Braidwood cheered Edward and his mother Alex as they headed off down the main street joined by a generous bunch of local horse enthusiasts in carriage and saddle.
Since then Edward has spent every day riding over the Snowy Mountains, through national park and state forest, stopping in Khancoban and Omeo before pausing in Marysville Victoria just before the Melbourne Cup.
Inspired by his mother Alex’s 10 year management of severe depression – Ed has raised approximately $50,000 for the Black Dog Institute which researches mental illness and provides recovery programs.
“Depression appears to have touched every small community along my way” said Fernon.
“For example Omeo policeman Gavin Murphy has dealt with 8 suicide attempts including 2 actual suicides in the last 18 months – just in that little community. That’s an incredible hurt that people are living through. I’ve been trying to get the message out that there is help available – that these feelings can be treated”
“Everywhere I stopped people shared a little something, from stories, to cups of tea, to welding the broken support vehicle to dropping some money in the bucket – it has been so humbling.”
On the last day of the ride, from Narbethong, just south of Marysville, to Healesville, Edward was joined by a large group of local pony club and recreational riders plus a dozen odd supporters on foot, finishing up by handing over a cheque to the Black Dog Institute’s Chief Executive Professor Helen Christensen one of the day’s more enthusiastic walkers.
Ed hoped that by finishing in the Marysville /Healesville region he would add another small act of support to a community devastated in the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 in which 173 people died and 414 were injured.
“These people are the epitome of resilience, but even though so much has been rebuilt we should never take for granted, that all is well”
“Finishing in Healesville felt similar to starting off in Braidwood with so much local support. I cannot thank these towns enough, as well as Omeo and Khancoban. People sometimes say that small rural communities are dying but that’s certainly not my experience, and I will be forever grateful”
Edward will continue to pass money on to the Black Dog Institute via his everyday hero donation site. Search Everyday Hero for ‘Following the Legend of Archer”