Council take steps to support Royce’s Big Walk

Wednesday, 3 May 2023

As Penrith Panthers legend Royce Simmons took the final steps of his 313km trek in Bathurst on Saturday night, Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen was there cheering him on.

Penrith City Council was blown away by the former Panthers skipper’s fundraising efforts last year through the inaugural Royce’s Big Walk, which saw him raise almost $1 million for dementia research following his own Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2021.  

This year, Councillors are throwing their support behind the local hero and his charity, donating $3000 to Royce’s Big Walk after his awe-inspiring journey for 2023.  

Cr Hitchen said Council and the wider Penrith community was incredibly proud of Royce for travelling from Dubbo to Bathurst on foot over 12 days to fundraise and raise awareness.  

“Royce Simmons is a remarkable man who was Penrith’s playmaker on the footy field during the 1991 NRL Grand Final and I was taken back to that moment as I watched him make it over the line once more on Saturday,” Cr Hitchen said.  

“Royce has turned his own tragedy into fundraising for dementia research, which is vital as there are more than 400,000 Australians living with dementia and it is the leading cause of death for women in this country,” she said.  

“Throughout his journey, this local hero has been holding community events during stops along the way as well as fundraisers for local junior Rugby League clubs, proving his everlasting love for the sport at a grassroots level. 

“We are all so proud of Royce and thank him for his selfless and courageous efforts – he is an inspiration and an incredible role model for our community.”  

Day one of Royce’s Big Walk saw Royce and his team travel 30km from Dubbo to Wambangalang. Stops along the way included Baldry, Parkes, Forbes and Orange.  

He triumphantly arrived at Carrington Park in Bathurst ahead of the Panthers vs Wests Tigers Royce Simmons Cup match where he was met with roaring fans from near and far.  

Royce said he was grateful for Council’s support and that this donation would help make a difference.  

"Every dollar we raise through Royce’s Big Walk is another small step towards finding a cure for dementia,” he said.  

"Last year we funded three research projects and we look forward to continuing that work moving forward. 

"I’m sincerely grateful for the support of Penrith City Council, the people of Penrith and everyone who has got behind Royce’s Big Walk this year." 

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Wednesday, 3 May 2023.