Governor General David Hurley will once again attend the match at Bellingen Park on Saturday afternoon.
Governor General David Hurley will once again attend the match at Bellingen Park on Saturday afternoon. Brad Greenshields

Why the Army match matters to sister of fallen soldier

THE Governor General David Hurley will attend the 12th annual Sgt Matthew Locke Charity Match between the Army Thunder and the Bellingen Magpies today in memory of fallen soldier and Medal for Gallantry recipient Sergeant Matthew Locke.

Matthew, whose name adorns  the Pacific Highway bridge at Pine Creek, was fatally shot in the line of  duty while serving in Afghanistan in 2007.

Saturday's match in Bellingen will raise funds for The Grub Club, Soldier On and the Tyringham Rural Fire Service.

It will also honour Matthew's legacy in both the Army and here on the Coffs Coast, while enabling the Locke family to make a difference to communities around the world.

Matthew's sister Debbie Locke explains the story behind The Grub Club charity.

IN MEMORY: Sergeant Matthew Locke was killed in action in Afghanistan's Chora Valley in 2007. Today his sister Debbie remembers the Grub they loved, pictured in kindergarten.
IN MEMORY: Sergeant Matthew Locke was killed in action in Afghanistan's Chora Valley in 2007. Today his sister Debbie remembers the Grub they loved, pictured in kindergarten. Matt Deans

SOME like the name Grub Club, some question it, some don't like it. I love it and here's why.

At home in Bellingen, my littlest brother was part of a gang called the little boys.

He was the apple of all our eyes. He was cute, he was happy, he was active, he was smart.

We all considered Matthew our friend. 

He was raised with not two parents, but five.

Mum and dad had three of us, my sister Belinda the oldest, myself and then my brother Wayne, then mum had a six-year break and popped out three more.

First Rowan, then Nicholas and lastly, the baby Matthew, born in a Bellingen flood.

This meant  the three youngest were often fed, watered, bathed and babysat by the oldest three.

We also tried to tell them what to do, which didn't always go over well.

We were a wild, outside living bunch of kids.

We made bows and arrows out of willow sticks, we hunted for eel and frogs' eggs, we swam all day long in summer, hunted mulberries in trees. We rode bikes continuously up and down the street, dodging cars.

My sister ran away from home to the creek when she was only four or five.

We didn't even realise she was missing till she returned with the biggest mushroom ever.

We had jobs to do, feeding chooks, washing up, making our beds.

This was in the day when there was only a handful of houses in Lyon St and to live out Kalang made you a hippie.

I remember them as glorious days.

We were loud, noisy, kicked out of home in the morning, back by sunset in the evening.

We were all Locky.

Often identified as little Locky, or one of the Lockes, not to be confused with the other Lockes, who were no relation incidentally.

No one had an individual nickname.

Our names were shortened, Belinda was Bin, I was Deb, Rowan was Row, Nicholas was Nick, or we were the collective Locky.

Matt, being the youngest, was doted on. Belinda took him to his first day of school and cried. Mum used to dress him in a mustard coloured cardigan that Ma knitted. We found out years later he hated it. He was always dirty.

My brothers were very active, they could play all day.

They had Tonka trucks, or they would ride with Dad in his trucks.

Playing under the house in the dirt was a daily occurence. Matt never seemed to be clean.

Dad would come home from work and say to him, "You are just a grub.'' It stuck. 

He became Grub. All his school mates called him Grub, we called him Grub.

When I started the charity it was called The Oruzagan Province Education Fund.

I found out later Uruzgan was spelt incorrectly and it was a mouthful. I started the charity to remember Matt in a positive way.

To bring something to some people that I believe Matt would have agreed with and supported.

But you have to agree, Oruzagan Province Education Fund is too much.

We changed it to The Grub Club because it encapsulates Matt.

We are a little club that now works in Timor Leste.

We bring educational outcomes to isolated villagers.

I think we punch above our weight.

Every day when I am helping to build a kindergarten, or getting resources to a village school, or giving an adult the opportunity to improve their lot in life through training, I remember Grub.

Grub gave me the opportunity to step up.


A massive day of action is planned for the Sgt. Matthew Locke Memorial Match on Saturday, with gates at the Bellingen rugby league field to open at 11am.

The Army, Navy and Airforce will have both women's and men's teams in action before the Governor General's arrival at 5.15pm and kick-off in the big match the Bellingen Magies v Army Thunder at 6pm.



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