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John retired with a legacy that will help generations to come

When John decided to retire from his forty year career as a teacher and deputy principal, it got him thinking about the legacy he was leaving. So John and his wife Jane (pictured right), decided to mark the occasion with an Inspired Adventure to raise money for The Smith Family.

It was Jane who came across the challenge to hike the 223 kilometre Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.

“I've always thought The Smith Family was one of the most valuable charities in this country,” said John. “Jane said to me, ‘Why don't we make this your final quest at school – to raise money for disadvantaged students. And that will somehow mark the transition into another life.’”

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John, fixing his boot

Instead of gifts, John asked staff to donate to this fundraising challenge. He also announced his mission in the school newsletter and at assemblies. He was overwhelmed by the support from students, parents and staff.

“The students were wonderful. They had all sorts of things going on. They had games days, sausage sizzles and those sorts of things to raise money,” said John.

John and Jane had a great time walking the trail. They were thrilled with their guides and group, which covered an age range of 23 to 75. And it certainly proved to be an adventure.

“[My boots] just fell apart. So we strapped them all up with tape and they really looked hilarious … But I loved every minute of it,” said John.

“It was really lovely to be walking along these difficult but beautiful terrains and to be thinking, ‘Every step I take, it's for a purpose.’ This held significance beyond just my experience.”

Jane also asked family and friends to make a donation for her sixtieth birthday. Together, they raised over $13,000 for The Smith Family. They were absolutely delighted and it was the perfect way for John to leave a legacy that will continue to change lives.

“[The Learning for Life program] is not charity. It's a way of saying, ‘Take control of your own life. Take your education into your own hands.’ And if you can help kids to do that, I think that's a wonderful thing,” said John.

Want to go on this year's adventure? Get involved in our Kokoda trek in November.

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John with fellow Larapinta trek participants

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