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Lifeline’s lucky race day

Dave ‘Tubs’ Wright of the Punters’ Club hands a $1500 cheque over to Lifeline’s Rachel Hope. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

 

EMILY IRELAND

An unlucky day for punters at the Tauherenikau Races will potentially save someone’s life.

Dave ‘Tubs’ Wright usually spends 12-14 hours researching horses and the odds before he picks the bets on behalf of the Punters’ Club at Wairarapa races.

And although he usually gets it right, on occasion quadrupling people’s money, his success has taken a plunge at the past two race meets this year, with returns on a $10 punters’ ticket dipping below $2.

When this happens, the pool total is donated to charity.

Following the death of Wairarapa’s Grand National winning jumps jockey Cody Singer, who took his own life last year, it was decided that the $1500 remining in the pool would be given to Lifeline to help reduce distress and prevent suicide.

“This donation could save somebody’s life – and what is the value of that?”, Tubs said.

Wairarapa suicide prevention and postvention coordinator Rachel Hope of Lifeline said the organisation was “so incredibly appreciative” of the donation.

“If there is ever an organisation that knows how to stretch a dollar, it’s Lifeline, so it will go far and exactly where it is needed.”

Lifeline receives an average of six suicide calls each day, helping to save lives daily for those imminently at risk

Each call costs $25, and so this donation from the Punters’ Club will be able to support 60 people in distress.

Lifeline’s key helpline services do not receive government funding and they need continued community support to respond to every caller.

“The only way we are all going to save lives is by trying – all of us,” Rachel said.

“Sometimes you just need someone to have a chat to.”

  • A deeper look into suicide prevention and the life of Cody Singer is below.

 

 

 

Remembering Cody Singer

 

Grand National winning jumps jockey Cody Singer took his own life last year. PHOTO/PIP HUME
Grand National winning jumps jockey Cody Singer took his own life last year. PHOTO/PIP HUME

 

Suicide prevention and awareness has been a matter of considerable discussion in recent years, with Wairarapa sitting high on the national statistics table.

Last year, the Too Many, Wairarapa campaign was supported by the Wairarapa Times Age and Midweek in an effort to get people talking about their mental health and look out for each other.

Anna Cardno, the communications manager for the Wairarapa District Health Board, knows all too well the impact that a suicide has on all those affected.

Having lost several family members and too many friends to suicide, she saw the Too Many, Wairarapa campaign as a way to help people take some positive action and try to build resilience across the community.

Being well connected in the equestrian world, it is no surprise that Anna knew Grand National winning jumps jockey Cody Singer, who took his own life last year, aged 26.

She lives nearby the Hunt Club and had been in to visit to trial a horse with him just a few weeks before he died.

That was the last time she saw him, and Anna remembers him the same as he always was, full of cheeky banter. However, she cautions, the old saying that you don’t know what lies behind a smile is very true.

“Cody was a fun guy and always good for a laugh, but his troubles ran deep.

“I think most people probably knew he struggled, but he was excellent at putting on a smiley face.”

“That is one of the hardest things, I think.

“We often know people are finding life tough, but we don’t always know when they are finding it too tough.”

Anna said after a suicide everyone was left with the question “could I have done more?”.

“Part of my work with the prevention and awareness campaign involves me receiving notifications of local suicides.

“Getting the call about Cody that morning really stung,” Anna said.

“My hope is that Wairarapa, as a community, can support itself better and stop those burning calls happening for people.”

Cody Singer was a jumps jockey – a good one.

He won the Grand National in 2012 on Cape Kinaveral. But a few years later, life threw a curve ball that was to change Cody’s future.

“Cody had a shocker of a fall three years ago, from the same horse he won the Grand National on,” Anna said.

“He suffered a traumatic brain injury that immediately ended his jumps career.

“Since 2014 he’s had to limit himself to riding a bit of track and being the Huntsman for Wairarapa Hunt Club. “For Cody that would have been a bit like standing down as President to make tea – although he really loved the hunting.”

As if that dramatic, enforced change of a much-loved career wasn’t enough, Cody had to cope with ongoing medication to try and control headaches, balance issues and depression.

He was also struggling to come to terms with the death by suicide of his great racing friend, Otago based Irishman, Ross Doherty, who died in 2015.

“I have messages on my phone still from Cody that he sent me in late July last year on the anniversary of Ross’s death,” Anna said.

She read part of his last text where he was mourning Ross and regretting that his friend hadn’t talked more instead of ending his life.

“Like me, he had big dreams but things started to weigh heavily on his shoulders and instead of talking to us, he decided to leave.” Anna read.

“We had that text conversation on July 28, and Cody died just one month later, on August 29…was it a warning sign?”

Anna answered her own question.

“Of course it was. But even in the midst of managing a suicide awareness campaign, I didn’t pick up the level of desperate.

“You’d think given the environment I was working in, I would have.

“The thing is, we just don’t know what’s underneath for people.

“That’s why we need to just keep in touch with anyone having trouble.

“Keep asking if they are okay.

“Find communication channels that work, and help them to get help.”

 

WHERE TO GET HELP:

 

If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

Wairarapa DHB website has a front page link to a lot of help information, or you can call:

  • LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
  • SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
  • YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
  • NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
  • KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
  • WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
  • DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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