On the morning of Sunday 20th October I made my way down to Bondi beach before sun rise, not for a morning surf or a leisurely jog but to welcome 200 motorbike riders to the 2019 Ride for Justice (RFJ), an annual charity bike ride to raise awareness and money for the Homicide Victims Support Group.
It was a sight to behold: an abundance of leather lining the promenade as the riders enjoyed a coffee and bacon and egg roll before rolling out for the ride down to Ebony House in Waterfall, NSW — a safe place for victims of homicide.
As the riders revved up, half a dozen police bikes blocked the streets and a patrol car escorted the 200+ riders out of the city. There were members of the public going about their Sunday morning and surprised to stumble across the unfolding events, they whipped out their phones and filmed the spectacle. This is why the ride is so successful - it makes people take notice and, in turn, brings awareness to such an important cause.
The idea for RJF came about when the organiser, Simon Bouda, had a conversation with Peter Simpson, the father of murdered schoolgirl Ebony Simpson. Peter had seen a truck convoy pass through his town and all the locals took notice. Simon replied “Well, Pete, I don’t drive trucks, but I ride motorcycles.” This year’s ride was the seventh RFJ.
For the riders, the journey can be emotional. Many of the participants, such as members of the Police Force and other first responders, deal with homicide in their day-to-day jobs. Other riders are the family members left behind after a love one has fallen victim to a homicide.
The Homicide Victims Support Group was founded in 1993 by Anita Cobby’s parents Grace and Gary Lynch, along with Christine and Peter Simpson, parents of Ebony Simpson. They recognised the very real need to set up an organisation that could offer counselling, support and information to families and friends of homicide victims throughout NSW. Currently there are 4,200 members of the group and sadly, this number grows on average every three days.
Currently the HVSG is building Grace’s Place. Named after Grace Lynch, the project will be a world first residential trauma recovery centre, which will provide support, therapeutic programs and learning skills on how to survive the trauma of losing a loved one. Among the most traumatised when a loved one is lost through murder are children and young adults. Experience has shown that children of homicide require stronger and more direct support. Grace’s Place will be that place, a special place where young members can heal and survive. This year The Ride for Justice raised in excess of $20,000 to go towards the construction of Grace’s Place.
If you would like to donate to the cause, you can do so here.
To find out more about the Ride for Justice event and how you can become involved next year, you can visit their Facebook page.
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