A fundraiser is being held this Sunday for Yeppoon Golf Club's popular greenkeeper Jeff Shillam, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
A fundraiser is being held this Sunday for Yeppoon Golf Club's popular greenkeeper Jeff Shillam, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Devastating diagnosis for ‘one of life’s happy people’

ROCKHAMPTON’S Jeff Shillam is one of the good guys. Quick with a smile and a word of encouragement, he’s the bloke who will do anything for anyone.

Now the local golfing and business community is doing what it can for him after he received a devastating cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

He was given less than 12 months to live.

A long-serving greenkeeper at the Yeppoon Golf Club, Jeff is in his late 50s and has a wife, two children and two grandchildren.

An accomplished golfer, he’s enjoyed a number of successes and played several rounds for the Yeppoon team that went on to win the Keppel Zone B division pennants this year.

He is equally as talented on the court as the course, playing A-grade tennis in Rockhampton.

A charity golf day for Jeff and his family will be held at the Yeppoon Golf Club on Sunday and organiser Mick Drayton, the owner of Lawrie & Taylor Optometrists, is hoping it will raise $12,000.

Jeff Shillam in action on the court. Photo Allan Reinikka
Jeff Shillam in action on the court. Photo Allan Reinikka

Mick has been a member at Yeppoon for 15 years and got to know Jeff there.

When he got word of Jeff’s terminal diagnosis, he felt compelled to do something.

Mick sponsors a golf day at this time every year, a social day that would normally coincide with the NRL grand final and raises funds for the club.

He had no hesitation in instead dedicating the day to Jeff.

“I’ve gotten to know Jeff through his work at the club,” he said.

“I felt I was in a position to help and thought that any money we could raise for the family would be of some help.

“It’s a tragic situation. Jeff’s somebody who is relatively young and fit and had a lot of life to live.”

Mick has been overwhelmed by support for the day, which will feature an afternoon of golf, a multi-draw raffle and the auction of a piece of golfing memorabilia donated by the Adam Scott Foundation.

Jeff Shillam (second left) with fellow Yeppoon number 2 team members Bill Albertson, Brian Mossop and Trevor Renata after they won the Robinson Cup in 2013. Photo: Contributed.
Jeff Shillam (second left) with fellow Yeppoon number 2 team members Bill Albertson, Brian Mossop and Trevor Renata after they won the Robinson Cup in 2013. Photo: Contributed.

That support was typified by local businessman Darren Ireland from Pie Guru. A stranger to both Mick and Jeff, he turned up at Mick’s northside business with a sizeable cash donation and a number of prizes for the raffle.

An anonymous donor has also given $1000 cash.

“People have been so generous, it’s humbling,” Mick said.

“It really is humanity at its best.”

A field of 168 golfers will hit the course before the raffle is drawn and the memorabilia – a flag featuring the autographs of 17 golfers from the 2019 Presidents Cup International team – is auctioned.

Mick said every cent raised on the day would go to the Shillam family.

“I guess that as a husband and a father myself, this diagnosis really hit home,” he said.

“Cancer just doesn’t discriminate.

“Jeff’s a lovely bloke. He’s very friendly to new people at the club and he’s always got a smile on his face.

“He’s one of life’s happy people.”

Raffle tickets can be bought at the Yeppoon Golf Club or at Lawrie & Taylor Optometrists. The auction is expected to be held about 6pm on Sunday.



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