A SUBSTANTIAL sum of money has already been raised for much-loved former editor of the Namoi Valley Independent, Ron “Rocky” McLean, ahead of Friday’s big benefit in Gunnedah.
Six weeks ago, Mr McLean suffered a massive fracture of his left femur in an accident in Cooktown while visiting his son, Greg, editor of the Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette.
Mr McLean was airlifted from Cooktown to Cairns Base Hospital, where he underwent surgery.
He was relocated to Mossman Hospital and underwent physiotherapy for weeks on end – but will return to Gunnedah tomorrow to attend the fundraiser in his honour.
Mr McLean, a multi-award-winning editor of the Namoi Valley Independent (1979-2007) and Narrabri Courier ( 1968-79) newspapers, is also a well-known and respected sports administrator and sportsman.
About $2000 had already been raised for him, said one of the event organisers, Gunnedah councillor and close friend Owen Hasler.
“Donations have been very good,” Mr Hasler said.
He said they had been getting good donations in terms of cash – but had also received some great sporting items such as a Brian Lara-signed cricket bat to auction off at Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club.
Some of the auction items are being provided by well-known, prize-winning Gunnedah photographers Peter Lorimer and Paul Mathews – including one of cricketers Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh.
There will be a 2011-12 Speedblitz Blues Bat signed by 29 squad members and a 2011-12-signed Sheffield Shield shirt from Cricket NSW, as well as an autographed bat from Cricket Australia, signed by both the Australian and New Zealand Test players.
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has also pitched in. He will provide a dinner for two at Parliament House in Sydney.
“The benefit will recognise Rocky’s great service to this community,” Mr Hasler said.
“Ron also wrote and produced the sesquicentenary of Gunnedah (1856-2006) book titled The Way We Were as his contribution to the community celebrations – at some considerable personal effort and sacrifice – and it is, therefore, appropriate that the community responds now that he needs some help.”
The benefit evening, which includes a band, starts at 5pm with men’s, women’s and mixed bowls.
A barbecue dinner will be included in the $25 bowls nomination fee.
If you’d like to know more, phone Owen Hasler on 6742 4254 or the Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club on 6742 0220.