SOUTH Gippsland Hospital’s 2023 Murray to Moyne cycling team, the SGH Movers raised a grand total of almost $22,000, or $21,954.06 to be precise, with the backing of the Corner Inlet district community, and local and regional businesses.
The SGH Moovers rode in relay teams all the way from Moama on the Murray River to Port Fairy at the mouth of the Moyne River between early Saturday morning April 1 and just before lunch on Sunday April 2, 2023.
The riders covered about 440 kilometres in total before arriving in Port Fairy, where they still had enough energy to dance to music performed by a live band playing at a celebratory reception held for all 2023 Murray to Moyne participants.
Making up the SGH Moovers team, either on the bikes or in the support crew, were Mick Manassa, Laura Malady, Xavier Grech, Catherine Enter, Gabrielle Stefani, Trish Steel, Craig and Deb Allott, Sue Best, Bruce Straw, Allin Marrow, Owen Casson, Rae Avery, Mandy O’Connor, and Michael and Christina Doran with their son Byron, and his dog (and SGH Moovers’ mascot!) Zeus.
The SGH Moovers was one of 30 teams representing around 400 cyclists, taking part in what was the 36th Murray to Moyne.
The event was founded by the late Graham “Woody” Woodrup, a competitive cyclist from Port Fairy who set many long-distance records including Perth to Sydney and the 24-hour tandem world record.
Woody and his wife, Hester, established the Murray to Moyne Cycle Relay in 1987 as an annual charity ride to raise funds for hospitals, health services and health related charities.
SGH Moover Gabrielle Stefani said the riders, all clad in the colours of their team’s major sponsor, the Foster Service Centre, began the first leg of the relay at Echuca on the Murray at 9 am on Saturday.
“We took turns to ride in three teams, one team at a time, to Stawell, with the stronger riders in each team leading the way, and acting as windbreaks, too, for the others,” she said.
“Our support crew on the bus kept us all very well fed and rested so everyone was ready to get back on their bike at the next changeover.
“We had burgers for dinner at Stawell at about 6 pm, and then our night riders headed off to Hamilton, where the team stopped and slept until 5.30 am on the Sunday ahead of the 7 am start to Port Fairy,” Gabrielle said.
“Most of the SGH Moovers in the group finished the whole ride, and we all rode the final 10 kilometres into Port Fairy together, where we and the other Murray to Moyne teams were cheered at the town’s roundabout.
“Our riders ranged in age from their mid-30s up to 70, and we all finished in pretty good nick, considering how far the team had ridden in just over 24 hours.
“In fact the SGH Moovers were the last to leave Port Fairy at the end of the Murray to Moyne because we were too busy dancing to the live band,” she said.
“We even considered changing our team name from SGH Moovers to the SGH Groovers!”
SGH chief executive officer Paul Greenhalgh said the true highlight of the event was the “awesome riding by the South Gippsland Hospital Moovers!
“On behalf of the Hospital and the local community it serves, I want to thank you for all of your donations, sponsorships, and raffle ticket purchases, and acknowledge our riders and support crew,” he said.
“All of the money raised by the SGH Moovers in the 2023 Murray to Moyne will go towards new and upgraded surgical equipment.”