Ipswich throws support behind mental health charity
WHEN a police officer tragically took his own life in 2014 his colleagues realised something more needed to be done to support those in the service.
Since its humble beginnings as a Facebook page, police mental health support service Blue Hope has continued to grow into a well-known and much-needed charity.
On Saturday, Blue Hope expanded its reach to Ipswich with a colourful fundraiser.
Car enthusiasts turned out in their droves for the Blue Hope Classic Car and Pin-Up Show at the weekend, turning Queens Park into a sea of chrome and gleaming paint.
With more than $2,000 raised on the day, organiser Steve Taylor said the event was a success.
He said the funds would help provide support to current and former police officers and their families who suffer with mental health issues.
Veteran racer Jim Richards visited the event, with the multiple Touring Car Champion and Bathurst winner besieged by fans during his autograph session.
"You do get a buzz out of things like this, even though times change,” he said. "The kids don't know you but they have dads who used to watch us race, and YouTube means they can watch on a computer.”
Despite "retiring” from mainstream motor racing more than 15 years ago, Mr Richards races a Ford Falcon and AMC Javelin in Touring Car Masters, and rallies a Porsche 911 GT3 in tarmac events.
"Each car has a following (of) guys used to seeing us race,” he said.
"I also do Heritage Touring Cars, a friend has a couple of my BMWs from the 1980s and I am taking a car to the Silverstone Classic in the UK in two weeks time,” he said.
Mr Richards has a fond spot for Ipswich, having raced in the city many times throughout his career.