Father Michael and Zippy raise +$18k cycling from Sawtell to Armidale

Setting off from Sawtell, Father Michael, Zippy, Craig and Chantal Warnes.


FATHER Michael and Zippy-the-whippet set off from the Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church in Sawtell on Saturday morning, heading for Armidale on their sponsored cycle ride.

“It’s actually happening,” said Michael as he planted himself on his trike seat, with Zippy at the helm, and headed off.

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And it did happen, arriving safely in Armidale by 11am on Tuesday 14 September.

The Priest and puppy pair put their pedalling power into a sponsored cycle ride raising money for fellow Priest and friend, Father Teleshpor Zenda, aka Tellie, whose community in Tanzania is in dire need of funds, as reported in last week’s NOTA.

“I was a bit nervous,” Michael told News Of The Area.

“But we’ve been loving the toots we’ve been getting all through practice and on the ride,” he laughed.

Father Michael was escorted by Parishioners Craig and Chantal Warnes as they headed to Bellingen to pick up a key for their digs in Dorrigo Church that night.

Zippy’s bed and Michael’s inflatable mattress provided a great night’s sleep to combat the first-night fatigue.

“We started the day with celebrating Mass in Dorrigo Catholic Church and then resting the wobbly legs for the next day’s ride.

“Chantal and Craig returned home to Sawtell to get ready for the school week.”

With the hardest leg of the journey under their belt, around 50kms “up the mountain” into Dorrigo, they set off on Monday.

“Our ride from Dorrigo to Wollomombi was a slow one with a persistent headwind proving to be very challenging for both of us.

“The outcome upon arrival at Wollomombi was some saddle soreness.”

The travellers spent the night in the family home of locals, David and Sandra Mullens.

“Waking to weather reports of snow forecasted for Ebor, we set off early and back on the road to beat any winds or bad weather.”

Safe and sound in Armidale by 11am, the cheers went up ‘back home’.

“Our Parishioners kept up prayers for ‘favourable winds’,” Jennifer Oliver, Administration Officer, Sawtell Catholic Parish, told News Of The Area.

In total, $18,245 has been fundraised so far from a goal of $20,000.

Father Michael is overjoyed with the outpouring of support and love they have received.

To sponsor Fr Michael and Zippy log onto mycause.com.au – see Zippy for Zenda to donate.




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