Rotarian Craig Alford hits gold as lawn ranger


Craig Alford hits the road on the modified lawnmower.  Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d451574
Craig Alford hits the road on the modified lawnmower. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d451574

Craig Alford rode a Hustler Super Z lawnmower from Armadale to Bunbury to help bushfire victims from the Waroona, Yarloop and Harvey bushfires and surprise delegates at Rotary’s annual conference in Bunbury last week.

But he ended up being surprised himself when he was one of only 100 Rotarians worldwide to receive this year’s Service Above Self Award.

“I was blown away to receive the award; with only 100 granted every year and to be in that category out of 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide was amazing,” he said.

Mr Alford said he would not have received the award without the huge backing of his dedicated support team, his business partner Andrew Fox and staff at Armadale Mower World.

The Ride to the Other Side charity was established in 2012 to travel 15,000km around Australia for Rotary projects within six years.

The Super Z ride-on mower has travelled anti-clockwise around the continent over four annual legs, from Perth all the way to Darwin.

In 2012 Mr Alford drove his mower from Perth to Kalgoorlie; in 2013 from Kalgoorlie to Adelaide; and in 2014 from Adelaide to Sydney via Melbourne and Hobart.

Last year was the toughest so far, with the team covering 5175km from Junee, just out of Sydney, to Darwin in 42 days.

Another ride, a 4000km trek from Katherine to Perth, is set to start on June 19 to complete the big lap around Australia, two years ahead of schedule.

The ride has raised more than $300,000 for a variety of causes, including mental health, the Wheels for Hope mobility service for disabled people, prostate cancer, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Alzheimers awareness and polio eradication.

Mr Alford is hoping that they will be able to raise about $500,000 when the ride ends in the Perth city centre in July.

He said the most satisfying part about being involved with the project was meeting people from all over Australia.

“The people that you meet and the things that you see along the road really restores your faith in human kind again,” he said.

The Hustler Super Z mower has had a few modifications, including 18-inch Ford mags and tyres, but can still cut grass.

To donate or find out more about the group, visit www.ridetotheotherside.org.au or the Ride to the Other Side Facebook page.