The officers and sailors of the Guided Missile Frigate, HMAS Melbourne, are embracing Ocsober, the annual fundraising initiative that encourages people to give up alcohol for the month of October.
Ocsober aims to promote a healthy approach to alcohol consumption while raising funds for Life Education, an organisation that teaches Australian children how to enjoy a healthy lifestyle by avoiding drug and alcohol abuse.
Life Education’s mascot, Healthy Harold, has been delivering the message to school children for over 30 years. This year Ocsober aims to raise $1 million.
The ship's company of Melbourne are showing their support for Ocsober by promoting the overarching aspect of a healthy lifestyle by participating in an extreme distance challenge.
There are 9218km separating the United Arab Emirates and Fremantle, Australia. Members of Melbourne will run, walk, ride or row this distance cumulatively over the month of October.
Team Melbourne Leader, Leading Seaman (LS) Annah Whittaker, has registered the ship on the Ocsober website.
A veteran at raising money for good causes, LS Whittaker is also an avid participant in fitness activities, including the Sydney City to Surf.
“It’s great to promote a healthy lifestyle, and even better to see everybody get together for such a worthy cause,” she said.
Organiser, Ship's Warrant Officer Scott Shipton, is expecting maximum participation from members of ship's company for the cause.
He is also encouraging external sponsorship from folks ashore via the Ocsober website by joining Team Melbourne. Participants can also receive sponsorship from their shipmates.
“Ocsober is an opportunity for the ship’s company of Melbourne to become involved in promoting a healthy lifestyle, and at the same time raise funds for alcohol and drug education for school children.
“Our plan to undertake a whole ship challenge to cover the distance between the Area of Operations to Fremantle, our last Australian port of call, is by no means a small feat and will be achieved in typical Melbourne fashion - enthusiastically and with the attitude of 'Job's On!” Warrant Officer Shipton said.
Melbourne’s Physical Trainer, LS Ashley Correa, is expecting to see his treadmill, rowing machines and exercise bikes being given an intensive workout during Ocsober.
He is also anticipating many laps of the flight deck and forecastle.
“The numbers of people turning up for training are already pretty good. I expect this to improve significantly this month, and we'll smash our targeted distance,” LS Correa said.
Melbourne is currently on station in the Middle East Area of Operations undertaking maritime security patrols as a part of Operation SLIPPER in the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden and Arabian Gulf.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131589.