Driving safety message home
SPORTING icon Paul Davis is adamant if one young life is saved, his family’s grief at the loss of a son will have some meaning.
In November 2009, Paul and wife Vivian lost their 15-year-old son ‘Bud’ in a road trauma which also claimed the life of cousin Rosa-Lee, 11, and left two others seriously injured.
The incident came just weeks after one of Group 2 junior league’s finest young men celebrated a premiership with Kempsey Dragons and signed a development scholarship contract with Gold Coast Titans.
Now, the second Paul Davis-Welsh Memorial junior rugby league tournament on the Easter long weekend will bring together youngsters of all ages for three days of sporting enjoyment.
It will be played at Verge Street Stadium and adjacent sporting fields in West Kempsey on April 23-25 and an open invitation has been given to junior rugby league teams from seven to 17 years to participate.
A junior touch footy competition for the girls will run in conjunction.
Bud’s old club, the Dragons, will host the tournament in partnership with the Paul Davis-Welsh Memorial Foundation Inc.
But the adults in charge of the event have a more serious outcome in mind, hoping the serious realities of road safety will rub off on the kids who come together to have some fun.
“It’s always hard getting through to them but that’s no excuse not to try,” Davis said.
“When I was a kid their age I thought I was 10-feet tall and bullet-proof, too ... but we have to do everything we can to get the message across about road safety.
“And about staying away from drink and drugs and all those other traps there are in life for them if they are not looking where they are going.
“However, the organising committee feel we have a better chance of getting their attention if we tag on with a game of rugby league which they all love and tie it in with the good example we are trying to set.”
The Easter tournament is one of two ventures now run by the foundation, with their first annual golf classic held at Nambucca Heads Island Golf Club last November.
Yet another member of the extended Davis clan has also thrown his weight behind the venture.
Local product and South Sydney superstar, Greg Inglis, has been heavily involved since day one.
He’ll be playing for the Rabbitohs against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium in the Saturday night match before heading back to home territory to meet the players and headline all social activities
Paul Davis said whenever the kids aren’t engaged in playing football, they won’t be far away from positive messages.
“We will have displays set up around the fields, driving home the principles of road safety,” he said.
“Many of our sponsors will set up tents to promote health issues, including warnings against the misuse of drugs and alcohol.
“Football may be what brings us together but a good, happy life is more important.”
Group 2 junior rugby league has approved the event and all clubs within the league have been encouraged to participate.
Divisions to be contested are under-7, 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17 years.
The girls’ touch football draw will depend on entries.
Further information is available from Phillip Hall on 0402 810 813 or Paul Davis on 0458 778 246.
Email correspondence is welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org