Big Ben coming back to Bellingen for Grub's memorial weekend
'BIG BEN' is coming back to Bellingen to honour a famous, fallen Magpie mate.
Corporal (retired) Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG will be special guest at Bellingen Park on March 1 when the famous rugby league 'graveyard' becomes the scene of the sixth annual Sgt. Matthew Locke MG charity match.
Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo Magpies will confront Australian Army Thunder in a game commemorating the late Matt 'Grub' Locke who was killed in action in Afghanistan on October 25, 2007.
'Grub' was a great mate of the towering soldier who attended the last match played in 2011 with his then ADF boss, Lt General David Hurley.
Last year's event was called off at the last minute when heavy rain and flash flooding left the town isolated.
This year, the Magpies will be joined in the promotion by neighbouring Group 2 clubs Macksville Sea Eagles and Nambucca Heads Roosters for trial matches starting from 2pm.
Ben is patron of The Grub Club, the fundraising and charity arm set up to build schools and create educational opportunities in Timor Leste and Afghanistan, where Matt served.
Local Legacy projects and surf life saving clubs have also been beneficiaries and this year, funds will go to Mates4mates, the organisation supporting veterans and their families.
The day before the match, a three-person Ambrose event will be played at Bellingen Golf Club.
Breakfast will be provided before the 8am tee-off, with lunch served when the event finishes around 2pm, followed by a civic reception from Mayor Mark Troy.
Cost is $90 per team of three.
On Sunday, March 2, the weekend celebrations spread to Coffs Harbour.
The Australian Army Band will perform a two-hour concert from 11am at C.ex Coffs, supported by the Coffs Harbour Regional Brass Band.
Tickets are $10 each.
For information, call Debbie Locke on 0429 977 959 or Google up The Grub Club website to go to the Facebook page.