When a group of Harley Davidson’s cruise into Tumut next week carrying rugby league legends such as Brad Fittler and Nathan Hindmarsh on board, there will be something else on board which is far more important, a set of keys.
Following years of fundraising efforts and community work, Brad Fittler and the Hogs for Homeless crew will finally hand over the keys to a much-needed new bus for Gadara School, Tumut.
Fittler has made Tumut a constant on his yearly trips around Australia to raise money for the homeless, with Gadara School luring him back to town every year.
The movement to fund a brand new bus featuring all the required equipment for the students of Gadara has been supported immensely by the local community, bolstered by the support of Fittler and Red Energy which ensured the initiative came to fruition.
“To get it over the line we ended up teaming with Red Energy and together came up with the money that allowed it all to happen,” Fittler said.
“It’s going to be awesome. I’m sure the kids will be grateful, it will have all the appropriate equipment, doors and facilities.
“Its absolutely the least we can do.”
Fittler first visited Tumut as an 11-year-old for a NSW Rugby League Carnival held in the middle of winter.
And despite never forgetting the town since his chilly reception, Fittler continues to return to Gadara School and was impressed with how the community rallied together to fund the new bus.
“There’s something about Gadara that drew us back every year,” the NSW Blues coach said.
“We always try to ride through the Snowy Mountains on the trip but it’s that school that keeps getting us back.
“The most impressive thing is how the local community has funded a huge part of it.
“We brought a few people to the table and helped as much as we could but the main part was the community, a huge congratulations to the community.”
One of the people who was brought to the table was Neil Thew from Red Energy. Playing a large role in the local community Thew said he hopes the bus will make the lives easier for students of Gadara.
“Our assistance with the Gadara School bus this year will enhance the lives of the students attending the school, providing better learning opportunities for all,’’ Thew, the Regional Business Development Manager of Red Energy said.
The Hogs For The Homeless crew first arrive in Tumut on day six of their trip, next Wednesday, and will be at the Tumut Bowling Club that evening from 6pm.
Fittler will be joined by, Beau Scott, Luke Lewis and other famous faces before the official handover of the new bus taking place the following day on Thursday at 9am at Gadara School.
Fittler admits after six days riding on a bike with the likes of Nathan Hindmarsh he “might just get on the bus and ride it home”.
But a unique Tumut trait partnered with the local roads and scenery will ensure the Hogs for Homeless crew continue the trip on their bikes and return next year.
“I always love riding around Tumutm it’s beautiful, it’s been a constant on most of our trips,” he said.
“I’ve always remembered it being really beautiful, and also the fact is you can spell it forwards or backwards, there’s only one other place in Australia like that.”
With plenty of work ahead of him as coach of the NSW Blues, Fittler said he’d consider a move to coach the Tumut Blues once his time in State of Origin is up, on one condition.
“Definitely, but can we bring a beach down there and lift the temperature as well?”