It was the last game of the season, the fittest I had ever been when I suffered a Spinal Injury in the scrum whilst playing for the Kaikorai R F C Senior team. The day Otago beat Australia – 5thAugust, 1972. I had a rotational dislocation of my C5 vertebrae resulting in the complete severance of my spinal cord leaving me a “Tetraplegic” – Bugger!
Following my discharge from the Spinal Unit (Ward 13b) of Christchurch Public Hospital in February 1973 I returned to the work force in full time employment within the Insurance Industry. I worked my way up to middle management and became the Claims Manager of the Dunedin Branch of the company. Following various restructures I continued my employment until 1994 when the Employment Contract Act and my health caught up with me and I was forced to take early retirement.
My interest in rugby never waned and I became the Secretary of the Kaikorai Club a position I held for 13 years. Between 1973 &1994 I became a regular sideline supporter of the club’s senior side, attending most games. In addition I held the positions of, Chairman of Committees, Fund Raising Officer, Editor & Publisher of the club’s newsletter “In Touch”, and represented the club on ORFU committees and also the Centennial organizing committee.
Other positions held were Junior Vice President, Senior Vice President, President and I have been afforded the privilege of “Life Membership”. I recently served on the 125th Jubilee committee and presently still support the club by designing, developing and administering their Website
In addition to my involvement with rugby I served on the Kaikorai Cricket Club Committee for 5 years and was also involved with Touch at Kaikorai and was a member of the Otago Touch Committee.
As sport was always part of my life it seemed natural that I become involved in competing in Paraplegic events. The highlight was winning a Silver Medal in the 25 yards Backstroke at the last ever held Commonwealth Paraplegic & Physically Disabled games held in Dunedin in 1974. I later became a member of the Executive Committee for the national body of the NZ Paraplegic & Physically Disabled Assn having served on the Dunedin Committee for a number of years.
In 1994 I built my own home ownership unit. This is where the NZ Rugby Foundation has provided invaluable assistance. They have helped by replacing a heat pump and funded much needed exterior & interior refurbishment. I have developed my own hobby website business and the Foundation has helped with the provision of a server and tuition fees for computer studies to enhance my skills.
It is hard to express my gratitude to the NZ Rugby Foundation for all this much appreciated help.
Unfortunately Bob passed away in July 2012.
NZ Rugby Foundation
Sport Auckland House Level 4, Alexandra Park Function Centre, Gate B, Greenlane Road West, Epsom, Auckland