The University of New England (UNE) with the support of the New South Wales Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council and New England Rugby Union will be commemorating the Centenary of WWI with a ‘Town versus Gown’ Rugby Match at Bellevue Rugby Oval on Sunday 19 April.
Jessica Lewis, Centenary Ambassador and UNE student said, “We have a great day planned, with a number of representative games being played at the Bellevue precinct.”
“Beginning at 10am, a number of U20’s and open provincial teams from New England, Central North and the Far North Coast will be playing, and there will also be some New England Club Fixture Games, including Gwydir River and Robb College 2nd and 3rd grade teams.”
“The formalities will begin at 2.30pm, prior to the main game at 3pm. Master of Ceremonies Josh Tombs, who lost his father in the 1996 Townsville Blackhawk accident, will welcome special guests including Madeline Fussell, mother of the late Lieutenant Michael Fussell, who was killed in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2008 and Adam Marshall, MP, Member for Northern Tablelands,” Jess said.
“Entry to the game is a gold coin donation, Armidale Legacy will be running the barbeque, with Robb Rugby running the canteen and bar facilities.
“We will also be auctioning off the commemorative rugby jerseys, at a silent auction during the main game, which have been kindly funded by the NSW Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and all proceeds from the day will be donated to Legacy and ‘Soldier On’, both great causes, so we are hoping the community will really get behind this event,” Jess added.
‘Soldier On’, founded in 2012, was inspired by the death of the late Lieutenant Michael Fussell. It is an independent body, funded by donations and works hard to ensure the physically and mentally wounded are able to overcome the obstacles caused by their injuries and enjoy happy, fulfilling lives and feel proud for the sacrifices they have made.
Adam Marshall is looking forward to the day and believes “It’s vital to commemorate the service and sacrifice made by those generations who served in the military to keep Australia safe and to make it the great place it is today.”
There will also be an Anzac Commemorative Ball on the Saturday night prior to the Rugby Matches, to be held at the Armidale Ex-Services Club. Tickets are on sale now at the club or if you would like more information contact the club on 6776 0800.
PHOTO: WWI Commemorative Rugby Match event organising committee, from left David Schmude, Madeline Fussell, Adam Marshall, MP, Jessica Lewis, Josh Tombs, Ariane Mazzei Paul Schmude.