Albany Porridge Bikers to honour one of their own in annual charity ride for children’s health
Albany prison officers’ annual charity ride for children’s health will take on new meaning this year as they pay tribute to one of their own who lost his battle with cancer last year.
Albany Porridge Bikers will set off from Albany to Lake Grace on October 21 to raise money for medical services across the Great Southern.
The team of Albany Regional Prison officers has raised more than $80,000 for the community since their first ride in 1999, most recently buying an underwater inspired mural to brighten up the Albany Health Campus paediatric ward.
This year’s ride will honour a driving force behind the initiative and former prison officer of 15 years John “Johnny” Roukens.
Porridge Biker Rob Badger said 25 riders — including Mr Roukens’ son — were taking part to continue his legacy.
“Our occupation is extremely close-knit because we rely on each other,” he said.
“So when we lose one of our favourite sons like we have, we bond together very strongly and that will be demonstrated on this ride.”
As well as fundraising for children’s health causes, this year’s ride will support the Albany Community Hospice which cared for Mr Roukens during his final days.
“John has done the ride for several years and he was a very vivid character in the ride and in the jail so he was a very, very big part of this ride and our place of work,” Mr Badger said.
“He has left a very big hole in everything, so we are going to try and fix that hole a little bit so that is what this ride is about.”
The public are welcome to cheer the Porridge Bikers along as they travel 195km from Albany to Jerramungup on October 21, and 153km from Jerramungup to Lake Grace on October 22.
“Any donations will be well received and well used, the money goes directly to our community,” Mr Badger said.
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