Fred Gibson Memorial Bowls Day

"What a wonderful day" is the way Johnny Peard so succinctly and appropriately put it. And not one of the 120 bowlers or 170 lunch guests at the Men of League Fred Gibson Memorial Bowls Day at Club Dubbo would disagree.

It was a day that conjured much emotion. Plenty of laughter, provided mostly by that man Peard, then sometimes sadness, as we felt the Gibsons' loss. Yet an overriding sense that Fred's struggle with the dreaded motor neurone disease wasn't in vain.
 
An unseasonably warm winter’s day and tip-top Club Dubbo greens greeted the bowlers. Following a few ends of social bowls was a first class Club Dubbo lunch accompanied by anecdotes from one of Australian boxing's toughest - Dave "Charkey Ramon" Ballard. There were Frank Sinatra covers from dulcet tones of former NSW five-eighth Leo Toohey, Master of Ceremonies Jim Hall gave his take of "The History of Rugby League" and the hilarious John Peard, who keeps getting better and better.
 
Fred Gibson, the Brewarrina, Mendooran and Dubbo Macquarie hooker, was also an astute stockman and a very religious person. Fred was smiling down from heaven over the bowls day. He would've been proud of his wife Rosie, his four children and grandchildren. Proud of his football mates who all came together to raise money for the wheelchair van, so that others wouldn't be isolate like he was.
 
Brewarrina had no wheelchair taxis. The only time Fred left home in the twelve months before receiving the van was in a hospital to medical appointments. He died only three weeks after receiving the van but as his son Fred Junior put it, “he was so proud of that van. Just receiving it and knowing that the Men of League cared so much, meant so much to him.”
 
Fred’s fighting spirit was on display with footage of him shown on the big screen from the day he received the van, saying, “I don’t want it to beat me. If it’s going to fight me, it’ll be up for a hell of a fight.”
 
The $12,000 raised at the bowls day will ensure the van stays with Men of League so that it can be used to ensure the next member who is wheelchair bound won’t be left so isolated like Fred was. This generosity started with the board and management of Club Dubbo - they generously donated the costs of the breakfast, bowls and lunch, so that supporters of the day new that 100% of their contributions were going to the cause.
 
All this added to an overwhelming sense of pride in the rugby league community, that there is a fantastic support network called the Men of League Foundation. As Peard so profoundly put it: “Not since the discovery of insulin, has a single medical discovery as potently contributed to wellbeing of humanity than what is offered by mutual support groups, such as Men of League.”
 
The next Men of League Western Region event is on Friday 1st November, a golf day at the Dubbo Golf Club.

By Geoff Mann, Dubbo Weekender
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Events

  • NSW
    17.07.15

    NSW
    31.07.15

    Metro Committee Lunch

    Men of League invites you to attend their Metropolitan Branch "Tribute to Inspiration & Courage" Join us for a memorable day as we celebrate inspirational and courageous sporting achievements.  

  • NSW
    05.08.15

    Annual Men of League Charity Golf Day 2015

    When: Wednesday 5 August 2015 Where: Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club, 86 Stonecutters Driver, Colebee NSW  Time: Registration 7.30am Shortgun start 8.00am Lunchtime Presentation 1.00pm  Cost for a team of four: AHA NSW Members $800 Non AHA NSW Members $1,000 Suppliers $2,000 Men of League Members $1,000 (includes golf carts, BBQ buffet dinner and refreshments) RSVP: Friday 27 July to events@menofleague.com or 8765 2232 This is a charity event with all proceeds donated to the Men of League Foundation.   


News

  • 16.06.15
    Kokoda Challenge

      

    11.06.15
    UPDATE ON BEN ROSS

    The Men of League Foundation’s Welfare and Education Officer, Ben Ross, has this afternoon come out of surgery on his arm. Ben required an operation to repair a fracture to the humerus of his right arm after an arm wrestling accident on last night’s NRL Footy Show. Ron Coote AM, Chairman of the Men of League Foundation said, “Ben is now out of theatre and recovering from his surgery. “On behalf of Ben, Ben’s family and the Men of League Foundation, I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in helping Ben to this point. The emergency team, doctors, nurses and hospital staff have been fantastic and we’re all very grateful for their professionalism and support. “This has been a very public episode for Ben and now it’s time for him to recuperate. We ask that everyone now respect his privacy and allow him the time he needs to recover,” Ron Coote AM concluded. For more information: Louise Duff - lduff@brilliantlogic.com.au - 0412 041 330  

  • 01.06.15
    Great luncheon reflecting on Dragons V Sharks clashes over the years

    Around 170 guests joined us at the Men of League Southern Region luncheon at the Cronulla Leagues Club on 29 May to celebrate the many clashes between local rivals the Dragons and Sharks. Players from 1975, 1985 and 1995 and years in between came together to support the Men of League while renewing old friendships and revisiting some of those great games.   It was a rugby league who’s who. Immortal Johnny Raper was joined by legends Steve Edge, Gavin Miller, Johnny Peard, Merv Lees, Teddy Goodwin, Mark Coyne, Andrew Ettingshausen and Nathan Brown. Many others who had represented both clubs were also in attendance.   Chairman Terry Hughes welcomed the guests and thanked them for their support in what is the division’s major fundraiser for the year. He then introduced Corene Strauss, CEO of the Men of League Foundation who thanked those present for their support and gave a brief outline of the work of Men of League.   A panel discussion involving Nathan Brown and Mark Coyne representing the Dragons and ET and Mitch Healy for the Sharks was both humorous and enlightening with many anecdotes heard for the first time.   The auction and raffle was very generously supported which led into a wrap up session by the always very funny John “Bomber” Peard.   It was all in all a great day with a great location, great food and beverages and great fellowship.   Well done to the local Men of League committee.     Bruce Thompson Mobile 0419 475465 From left –Andrew Ettingshausen (ET) , Mitch Healey, Nathan Brown, Mark Coyne. Allan Wilson Interviewing Lord Ted Goodwin Sharks CEO Lyall Gorman Gavin Miller  

    21.05.15
    Men of League Help Mick Egan

    Take a look at this great story about the work Men of League are doing in the Townsville.  

  • 18.05.15
    Help support the Zane Purcell Trust

    The Zane Purcell Trust has been set up after the tragic passing of Zane Purcell on Mother’s Day 2015, following a head clash in a tackle during a rugby league reserve game. Zane leaves behind his wife Rachel, and their seven-month-old daughter, Bonnie. Donations made to the Zane Purcell Trust will help support the Purcell family. For further information on the Trust and details on how to donate, follow the links below: https://www.mycause.com.au/page/103418/raisingforrachbonnieandizayah https://www.facebook.com/pages/Raising-for-Rach-Bonnie-and-Izayah/548268981978836  

    18.05.15
    Men of League Gympie Committee doing great work

    Take a look at this article from the archives: Have a read about the great work our wonderful committee in Gympie has been doing in their local area. Well done guys! http://www.gympietimes.com.au/news/pass-on-goodwill/2486126/