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Brisbane dad walks 24 hours straight to fundraise for Vinnies

Walking tall: Ashgrove parishioner David Vidler on his 24-hour walk to raise funds for his local St Vincent de Paul Society conference last weekend.

DAVID Vidler laced up his shoes, put on his cap and trekked 24 hours straight to raise much-needed funds for his local St Vincent de Paul Society conference last weekend.

Mr Vidler, an Ashgrove parishioner, walked more than 100km from 9.30am Saturday to 9.30am Sunday, raising $5121 for his local St Finbarr’s Vinnies conference.

He crossed the finish line right as Sunday Mass was finishing at the church, where local councillor Steven Toomey had put out a COVID-safe morning tea.

“It was very good, very satisfying, right up until today where I’ve just realised we’ve exceeded my goal; that’s even better,” Mr Vidler said.

“It’s the second time I’ve done a 24-hour walk; I did one last year, (but) this one was quite challenging as well.”

He called it “fatiguing but very rewarding”.

Mr Vidler said 2020 had been tough on a lot of people and fundraising opportunities had been impacted.

The local Vinnies Sleep-Out and the pot-luck dinner were both unable to go ahead, so Mr Vidler decided to try the 24-hour walk.

His walking loop went from St Finbarr’s Church, up to Mt Coot-tha, down along the Brisbane River and back to St Finbarr’s.

It was a 50km loop and Mr Vidler did it twice.

He spent 22 years in the Australian Army as a physical training instructor and had always been active, but after a few injuries, he was unable to run anymore.

“I do a lot of walking, I train every day, a lot of training up at Mt Coot-tha,” Mr Vidler said.

“Walking-wise, you obviously don’t walk for 24 hours to train for a 24-hour walk, but as long as you prepare adequately with food, nutrition-wise, and have good support crew, it works pretty well.

“The body is quite strong and resilient.

“So make sure you have a good sleep the night before and have good company along the way – not that my conversation made much sense at about 3am or 4am … I can’t remember much,” he said with a laugh.

He was accompanied by walking buddies the whole way except for a brief stint on Saturday afternoon.

“I had at least one person, sometimes five people, walking with me, which is excellent,” he said.

“It probably would be a lot more mentally challenging if I was by myself all the time.”

People had organised well in advance, scheduling time slots to walk with him at all hours of the journey.

St Finbarr’s Vinnies conference president Chris Cahill said it was a wonderful opportunity to raise much-needed funds.

He said it had been difficult for people to get to the church and “obviously the parish is where we got a lot of our local funding from donations”.

“It’s been very helpful for us because people don’t realise that in areas even like Ashgrove … there are a number of people who are struggling with the current environment,” he said.

Mr Cahill said the money would be spent helping people at risk of homelessness or who had been placed into a boarding house by other organisations.

He also said it was a great community event.

“We haven’t been able to do anything social in and around the church, and that’s what it’s about – community,” he said.

Mr Vidler’s donation page will remain open until the end of the week at https://vinniesqld.grassrootz.com/24-hour-walk-for-vinnies/

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