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Canoe fundraiserfor Mental Health

Kayakers Geoff Kelty and Wayne Cole on the Darling River at Bourke during their 2020 Paddle to beat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Photo TWH

Rowing for Resilience

Geoff Kelty, the Senior Assistant Superintendent for Corrective Services NSW, has personal reasons for creating the Murungidyal (Healing) Paddle 2024, a tranquil life changing 360km kayak paddle along the Darling River from Bourke to Tilpa.

Mr Kelty said that he had spoken with a fellow prison officer who was suffering from PTSD due to the demands of the job.

“He found that getting back in contact with nature and being on the river just resets you. Together we thought, lets invite more people along to the next paddle to raise awareness around mental health and get Indigenous communities involved as well.”

From this conversation in the Brewarrina RSL, the idea for the Murungidyal (Healing) Paddle was born.

“While the aim of the paddle is to raise awareness of mental health issues, particularly among essential workers, the elephant in the room in our jobs is the high amount of Indigenous crime,” Mr Kelty said.

“As a prison officer, I’ve seen so many young kids come through and I’m sick and tired of locking them up.

“I’ve witnessed their distrust of people in uniform, so the eventual plan is to get these kids out on the water as well. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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