By Alesha Capone
This year will mark the ninth anniversary of the Wyndham 1000 event, in which Tarneit man Les Porter rides a tricycle hundreds of kilometres to raise funds for the Salvation Army.
Mr Porter, a member of the Salvation Army Wyndham City, has raised more than $120,000 in the past nine years.
This year’s Wyndham 1000, which was launched at Pacific Werribee on Saturday, will continue until November 17.
Mr Porter said he would cycle 500 kilometres around Wyndham during his fundraising efforts, and that members from the Rotary Club of Wyndham – which sponsors his tricycle every year – would ride an additional 500 kilometres.
Pupils from local secondary and primary schools will also join him during the ride.
“The ride, the good companionship from other Salvation Army members, Rotary and residents are what I enjoy,” Mr Porter said.
Mr Porter said that before the Wyndham 1000 began last week, he had completed more than 520 kilometres in training for the event since January.
He said the funds raised during the annual cycling campaign helped the Salvation Army’s Werribee branch to provide assistance to the homeless, family violence survivors and people in need of food.
He said that four years ago, schools in Wyndham also started collecting cans of food to donate to the Salvation Army, during the Wyndham 1000.
“The schools and the kids really get involved,” Mr Porter said.
“Depending on the school, some collect hundreds of cans.
“Up until the end of last year, schools had donated more than 10,000 cans and food items.
“Given that Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the Salvos, these donations are much appreciated in the lead-up to that every year.”
Donate to the Wyndham 1000 at the Salvation Army, 211 Watton Street, Werribee; at the Salvation Army stand outside Kmart at Pacific Werribee; or to Mr Porter as he rides around Wyndham. See www.facebook.com/Wyndham1000/for details.