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Father of six, Chris Whittaker from Orange (at left with Mitchell Hale) bought the Team Hale Force car – another for his family’s Holden collection, he says. “I really like the VL series and wanted to get in behind the BeyondBlue cause. Peter and Trish [Fehon] are friends. Also, I’d seen the Torana Mitch and his father built last year – it was very neat and I knew their work and craftsmanship would be spot on. “I’m going to keep the car’s historic rego and, when we go for drives, I’ll take three kids at a time plus my wife; we’ll have to do it in two shifts.” “I want to give Mitch and his family a wrap: the work on the car is really great; they could have held on to it, but credit to them, they sold it and the money went to a great cause.” Image: contributed

All hale best in show

Geoff Helisma |

Mitchell and John Hale spent last Friday to Monday (March 29 – April 1) testing their car’s mettle on “1,500 kilometres of both forest and farming dirt roads” between Yass and Cowra … and raised over $40,000 for BeyondBlue with their efforts.

It was the second year the Hale family has participated in the Beyondbitumen rally – last year the Grafton-based duo, Mitchell and his father Alan, drove the rally – this year it was Mitchell and his brother, John, who were ‘Team Hale Force’.

The majority of their outstanding donation came about as a result of auctioning their car, a Holden VL Commodore, which they restored for the event.

Auctioning a car was a first for the event, says Mitchell.

Nominated by the “Yass locals for best car”, it was subsequently adjudged the 2019 Beyondbitumen Best Presented Bash car.

It’s a double for Team Hale, which won the award last year, too.

Motivation to auction the car came about after Mitchell and Alan met Beth Maree Fehon’s family at last year’s rally.

Beth “succumbed to depression in 2005” when she was 17.

A post on Peter and Trish Fehon’s Facebook page describes Beth, from an early age, as “a very shy child, [who] took a while to warm to people and the environment she was in”.

“Even in high school … most people didn’t see this side of Beth; to all her friends and teachers she was an outgoing popular girl.

“She had a way of making us smile, she had a very happy cheery attitude that she portrayed to the world.

“She was our joker and our bright shining light.

“When she took her own life in February 2005 our world changed forever.

“In fact it felt like it stopped for a long time.

“What followed was months of desperate searching for an answer to that elusive unanswerable question – why?

“That question was never answered and no doubt never will.

“We have come to the conclusion that there is no answer.

“Probably Beth didn’t even really know why.

“Depression is an illness and all too often it’s fatal.

“What got us through this?

“Our faith in God and our belief that he does all things for the good of his people – that may sound contradictory if you don’t believe in God.

“A favourite bible passage of ours is Hebrews 11 v1: ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’

“That’s the best way to describe why we believe.

“Now 12 years on in 2017 we are once again ‘happy’ but we still miss our darling girl every day.”

Says Mitchell: “We put the car up for auction because Peter and Trish’s daughter, Beth, wanted a fully-sick VL Commodore, which she had written down that she wanted for Christmas one year.”

To make a donation to Team Hale Force, go to:

Beyond Blue is working to reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide in the community by raising awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery, management and resilience.

To seek immediate help, call 1300 224 636 any day or time.