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Mebourne Oxfam Trailwalker - 2013

On the 20th of April, a Parks Victoria Trailrider Team became the first team ever to complete the Oxfam 100 Trailwalker with a paraplegic or quadriplegic team member. Queenscliff man, Bruce Towers, traveled on a TrailRider, a purpose-built all-terrain wheelchair, through the rocky and steep course east of Melbourne, through the Dandenong Valley Parklands to the Yarra Ranges to raise money for Oxfam Australia.

Mr Towers said he was thrilled to be a part of such an exciting adventure after suffering horrific injuries in a helicopter accident in West Papua in 2006 that killed three people.

“I thought I might never be able to access the outdoors like this ever again and now I’m doing a 100km challenge. It proves anything is possible,” he said.

“It is great to be able to participate in the Trailwalker event and be part of the team. It gives me an opportunity to access some of our beautiful park trails and to also support Oxfam.”

The team was brought together by park visitor David Stratton who wanted to build a team to take on Oxfam’s 100km challenge, and do it all with a member in one of Parks Victoria’s all-terrain TrailRiders. Mr Stratton, who has Multiple Sclerosis, has long dreamt of making all-terrain wheelchairs available to people with disabilities so they can experience the outdoors.

Two teams from Parks Victoria made David’s vision a reality, rotating two of its members - or sherpas - to steer and push the chair across the Trailwalker course. The team included State Member for Caulfield David Southwick, Scott Lever, Megan Watson, Masha Prokudina, David Ponsford, Gary Porter and Ben Hart (David Stratton’s son). State Member for Gembrook Brad Battin, Phil Went and John Kenwright were the team support crew.

The team completed the challenging 100 km course in 33 Hours 49 minutes and 6 seconds.

PhotoAbility's co-founder, Bill Forrester, followed the team over the two days and his photos are presented in this gallery. These photos are available for editorial and advocacy use, with all proceeds from their sale going to Oxfam.

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