Over the side for charity

Petty Officer Shane Murphy  belays Seaman Riccardo De Florian from the upper decks of HMAS Canberra during the charity abseiling event. Photo: Able Seaman Jarrod Mulvihill

Over the side for charity

It’s not every day that a ship’s company gets to abseil down the side of one of the largest vessels ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy, but volunteers from HMAS Canberra and HMAS Kuttabul did just that in the name of charity.

Thirty-three intrepid soldiers and sailors volunteered to don harnesses and abseil 30 metres down the side of the ship from the flag deck in early December.

The money raised went to the ship’s charity Marymead, a not-for-profit organisation that provides support services to children and families of the ACT and southern and western regional areas of New South Wales.

Canberra’s Executive Officer, Commander Brett Westcott, said it was particularly rewarding to undertake an activity that could support people, while also providing ADF personnel with a physically and mentally challenging adventurous training opportunity that was also fun.

“Abseiling is a fantastic experience for everyone,” Commander Westcott said.

“It provides people the opportunity to challenge their fears and bond in a team experience outside the workplace.

“It develops resilience, teamwork and physical and mental fortitude but, above all, it’s just great fun and offers a completely different view of the ship,” Commander Westcott said, before abseiling down.

The event was overseen by Navy physical training instructors from HMAS Kuttabul.

After the event, Petty Officer Physical Training Instructors Kerryn Seaborn and Shane Murphy presented Marymead’s Director of Client Services Tracey Hall with a cheque for $3000, surrounded by participants from the abseiling event.

Petty Officer Murphy said it had been a great day for everyone and demonstrated that adventure sports, such as abseiling, were great for building morale, as well as challenging members with an activity they don’t often encounter.

“Abseiling requires a combination of communication, trust and team work, and it’s an activity we’ve run this year across Navy ships and establishments that has been incredibly popular,” Petty Officer Murphy said.

In addition to the abseiling, Canberra has conducted a number of charity events for Marymead since commissioning in 2014.

This includes rugby tournaments, auctions and community events that have allowed the organisation to continue to offer critical services, such as foster care, mental health support, early intervention programs and family counselling to those in need.



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