Riding for the Ryders

Lisa MorrisonThe West Australian
Eric Dobbe, Derk Bakker, Lucy Anderton, Rachel de Ruiter, Justin Hardy and Simon Clarendon are Racing for Ryder in memory of Arjen Ryder
Camera IconEric Dobbe, Derk Bakker, Lucy Anderton, Rachel de Ruiter, Justin Hardy and Simon Clarendon are Racing for Ryder in memory of Arjen Ryder Credit: The West Australian

Two months after Albany couple Arjen and Yvonne Ryder died aboard ill-fated flight MH17, family members and colleagues have united to raise funds to honour Mr Ryder's work in agriculture.

Mr Ryder would have marked 32 years with the Albany Department of Agriculture and Food this month, and last week a scholarship at UWA's Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management was established in his name.

In an effort to raise funds for the scholarship, his relatives and former co-workers will compete in the Blackwood Marathon this month.

Mr Ryder was a keen cyclist and had competed in the cycling leg of the marathon, which takes place in Bridgetown on October 25, since 2005 and was "over the moon" to achieve a personal best time last year.

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His younger sister Rachel de Ruiter raced against Mr Ryder last year and will lead the Riding for Ryder family team.

Mrs de Ruiter said her brother's enthusiasm for the event inspired the family to participate in previous years and she was looking forward to running in his memory.

"He was the encourager and organiser in the family so it will be special to continue what he started," she said.

"I feel like he is still motivating us … I can still hear his encouragement.

"This is something he would want us to do - to keep on going and to do the best we can."

DAFWA research officer Justin Hardy, who was Mr Ryder's teammate last year, said staff had been reeling in the aftermath of the tragedy, but fundraising for the scholarship had given them a newfound sense of pride and a practical way to immortalise Mr Ryder.

"It has given everybody a positive outlook," he said.

"It is about remembering who he was, how much fun he was, and how much he loved the great outdoors, sense of camaraderie and rural, community feel."

Mrs de Ruiter said the family were eager for Mr Ryder's legacy to live on.

"As a family we wanted to do something to honour him for what he has done in our lives and also for agriculture in WA," she said.

"It feels like this is a way his enthusiasm for life and his work can carry on."

Donations to the Arjen Ryder Endowed Scholarship Fund can be made online at www.development.uwa.edu.au/donate .

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