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Hitting the road for two top blokes

March 28, 2022

Members of our Mt Owen Lodge in the Hunter Valley have been devastated to lose two workmates – Mick Ford and Dale Harris – to brain cancer. Now they are organising a 650km bike ride to honour their mates and raise much-needed funds.

Ridin 4 Mates is a charity ride from Tumut to Bulga kicking off on September 13, to raise money for the Mark Hughes Foundation for fighting brain cancer. Fifteen riders will take part and they will finish up at the Bulga Tavern, Dale’s favourite drinking hole.

Lodge Secretary Brad Bates with wife Kelly and members of Dale’s family

For event organiser, Mt Owen Lodge Secretary Brad Bates, it’s about paying tribute to two great friends. “Six years ago, my good mate Mick Ford passed away and then tragically last year we lost Gary Harris, or Dale as he was known to everyone. I could never have imagined that we would lose Dale too. This ride is all about honouring two of the most top blokes you could ever hope to meet.”

Brad, Mick and Dale worked together as operators at Mt Owen until Mick passed away aged 48. Dale died last year aged 61.

Dale Harris

“We had some bloody great times together over the years. Mick was such a good bloke and everyone loved him,” said Brad. “We’d get a new starter in at the mine and he would always take them under his wing. He was just so down to earth and willing to do anything for anyone.”

Mick Ford

Dale’s family said that raising money for the Mark Hughes Foundation was very important to them as the Foundation had supported him while he was sick.

“The support they gave our family in the time Dad was sick was a godsend,” said Dale’s daughter Sammy. “They organised Dad’s appointments and came to appointments with us, checked in via phone and when Dad was in palliative care they were available to help us with information or contacts or even just to listen to us cry and talk.”

To support the riders, follow their Ridin 4 Mates Facebook page and make a donation at and help them reach their target of $10,000.

The Ridin 4 Mates team

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