More than 800 people attended Bishops Palace on Saturday to raise money for the Mates4Mates charity and raise awareness of the dangers of post traumatic stress disorder.
Mates4Mates supports current and ex service men and women, and their families, who are wounded, injured or ill as a result of their service through physical rehab, wellbeing services, psychological services, employment and education support, adventure challenges, and social activities.
According to Mates4Mates, 71 soldiers have taken their lives this year so a couple of Ballarat locals set out to raise awareness of the damage done by PTSD.
Event co-orgaiser Felicity Hart became involved with the charity when her brother Andrew Lund took his life in 2013 after returning from service in Iraq.
“Mates Day is about raising awareness of PTSD and the real struggles our soldiers and their families face when they return home,” she said.
“Andrew suffered from PTSD and succumbed to his illness a few years after returning and that’s why we do what we do,” she said.
“So hopefully no one else has to go though what we went through.”
Co-organiser Chris ‘Wilbur’ Wilson wanted a day about music and mate-ship and with the help of many people, including Felicity and the Military Brotherhood Military Motorcycle Club, their mission was a great success.
In the second mates Day event hosted in Ballarat, the group raise over $10,000 to help Mates4Mates provide care and support services to Australian military service men and women.
“It’s something we can do makes us feel good for giving back to to a charity that supports so many worthy people,” Ms Hart said.
“Chis Wilson got on board this year and he’s got all the contacts with amazing bands and has done much bigger job than what I could have done.”
Mates Day was a private event this year held at the Bishops Palace with Craig Willian opening the grounds for the fundraising day.
“Next year it may have to become a public event with so many keen to attend,” Mr Wilson said.
“This means awareness is being raised and people are having conversations around mental health which is what Mates Day is about.
“As long as it raises awareness and people start talking about the hard stuff.”