Carnival honours club legend who lost cancer battle
FOOTBALL: It is seven years since melanoma took the life of talented footballer and respected builder David “Richo” Richards.
For Gary Skinner, the loss of his good mate was a traumatic and confronting experience.
“David was a big, strong and proud man and what was happening to him reduced him to tears,” said Gary, the technical director of Bluebirds United Football Club.
“It was a terrible thing to see.
“It just seemed he was here and then all of a sudden he was gone.”
David was just 46 years old when he lost his cancer battle on September 29, 2012.
He will be fondly remembered this weekend when his beloved Bluebirds hosts the David Richards Memorial Cup at Webber Park.
It is the second year of the carnival. It attracted seven teams from across Central Queensland last year and the club wants to grow it each year.
Gary said the carnival was a fitting tribute for David, who played for 40 continuous years with Bluebirds.
A talented midfielder or outside defender, he was a wonderful mentor and role model within the club.
“Everyone was treated equal with David; no one was better than anyone else,” Gary said.
“He had a motto when he played football and it was ‘go hard or go home’.
“That’s what he expected from everyone he played with or coached. He didn’t expect miracles from players but he expected them to put in 100 per cent all the time.
“He was hard as nails on the field but was fair as anything. He was well respected, not only by his club mates but by the opposition.”
David played in the 15 jersey, which was the inspiration for making the memorial carnival an under-15 event.
Gary said the club had retired the 15 jersey, meaning no one wears that number anymore.
Fittingly, Bluebirds won the carnival last year and they are determined to do it again this year.
“We went all out to win it last year, being the inaugural carnival,” Gary said.
“We’ll put two teams in; our under-15s and an under-14 development side.
“We’ve got a strong 15s side again and we’re hoping we can keep our name on the Cup for as long as possible.”
Gary said David was survived by partner Cath Hogarth, and one of her daughters would play with Biloela this weekend.
There is $3500 prize money on offer, with $2000 for the winning team, $1000 for second and $500 for third.
Gary said the club was grateful for the support of major sponsor Budget Rent-A-Car and minor sponsor Morrison CQ Agencies.
“We want to turn this into a bigger, more prestigious carnival,” Gary said.
“We want to try to get it to a 15-team competition and to a position where teams are vying to get a spot in it.”
Anyone wanting to register can visit the Bluebirds Facebook page.