Walking for Fred

HISTORIC: Phil McDonald passed through Kerang on his quest to raise funds and follow the trail of famous explorers Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills.

HISTORIC: Phil McDonald passed through Kerang on his quest to raise funds and follow the trail of famous explorers Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills.

A MAN following the footsteps of two of Australia's renowned explorers in aid of the Fred Hollows Foundation has praised the district for its generosity.

Phil McDonald, who stopped in Kerang on Tuesday, left Port Melbourne on May 6 to embark on a journey to Karumba in Queensland, emulating the feat explorers Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills achieved close to 160 years ago.

Supported by his wife, Susan, the couple have been impressed with the assistance people have given them so far on their planned 3200-kilometre expedition.

"All of the country people are so generous," Mr McDonald said.

Mrs McDonald agreed.

"We got milk from a farmer yesterday," she said.

The pair have been offered fresh produce as well, and when the Kerang Motel learned about their project, owners Keith and Kristie Lavell offered them a room for two nights free of charge. 

"They spoke to us a little while ago when they did a bike ride with a group of people here," Mrs Lavell said.

"Fred Hollows is a fantastic cause and we said we'd be happy to help, so we're happy to give them a couple of rest days on their big journey."

Fundraising has been a lifelong passion for the McDonalds, who to date have raised approximately $450,000 for Fred Hollows, multiple sclerosis, and other causes. 

Mr McDonald has also had a lifelong passion for the story of Burke and Wills, and realised the two passions could be combined.

"I think if you are doing something like what we're doing, do it so you can raise funds," he said.

"I am so proud to take on this challenge in support of the Fred Hollows Foundation, to help restore sight for people who are needlessly blind." 

Mr McDonald will turn 73 this year and decided that they would aim to raise $73,000.

So far they have raised $17,000.

Those wishing to contribute can do so online, where the McDonald's journey can also be followed.

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