One of the best aspects of the Bowral Classic is the freedom to choose any worthy cause to support. We sat down with Dougal Guild, member of the High St Flyers and proud supporter of Mary’s House, one such cause.
Bowral Classic: How did you first hear about Mary’s House and the work they do?
Dougal Guild: I first heard about Mary’s House through my local Council website whilst researching possible charities to support as part of the Bowral Classic ride this year. At about the same time I’d watched a programme on TV where several incredibly brave victims of domestic violence spoke about their stories and I was instantly moved by the horrific stories of the ordeals and suffering that these (mostly) women had been through. I floated the idea of supporting this charity with a number of my cycling group also riding in the Bowral event this year and after meeting with a couple of members of the Mary’s House team were fired up and ready to get behind this amazing cause.
BC: What prompted you to get involved? What’s your role?
DG: I am one of a group of dads living in the Willougby area of NSW who share a common passion for road cycling. Our cycling group is called the High Street Flyers and over the past few years we have ridden in various bike ride events, some of which included raising funds for nominated charities. The Bowral Classic is unique in that it encourages a ‘choose your own’ charity to support – and we thought that this year’s ride would provide a great opportunity to find and support a worthy local charity, where we felt that our contribution could make a real difference. Mary’s House fit the bill perfectly and as a group of males, it was also important to show our support for a cause that supports woman through a terrible situation that is caused in the most part by males – and to say that this is never OK!
BC: Tell our riders what Mary’s House do?
DG: Mary’s House is a shelter in the North Shore of Sydney supporting women and their children who need help because of domestic violence. Qualified case workers support these women and their kids coming into the house as well as professionally and caringly helping them into their new lives. Mary’s House provides accommodation in five family style rooms and is 100% community funded.
BC: How important is Mary’s House to women and children on the North Shore?
DG: Hugely important. Domestic violence is a major issue in Australia. On average one in four women experience domestic violence and at least one woman a week is killed by a partner of former partner. And around half of all woman seeking crisis accommodation on any given day are turned away. These stats are really very shocking!
BC: When did you first get involved in the Bowral Classic? Have you participated before?
DG: I’ve ridden in all previous Bowral Classic events, so this year will be my fourth. It is definitely one of the best organised rides, in an amazingly beautiful part of NSW, loads of fun and not too far from Sydney. A large number of the High Street Flyers participate in the ride each year, and this year is no exception with about 20 of our crew signed-up for another great day out on the bike.
BC: How many riders are supporting Mary’s House?
DG: To date 17 of our crew have joined the High Street Flyers team page on GoFundraise. And many others in our broader cycling group are simply donating to one of the riders already registered.
BC: How can riders get involved and support Mary’s House?
DG: Our group of riders is hoping to raise $30,000 for this fantastic cause, and every little bit helps, so please click on/use the link here to donate some money to mums and their kids at a time when they need it most: https://register.bowralclassic.com.au/page/MarysHouse2019