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Northern NSW : Rescue Autumn 2017
When they got him to the top and he saw the Rescue Helicopter his spirits lifted. Off-field organiser In the mid-1980s, two Lauries were weaving their magic on NSW country rugby league fields. One, Laurie Daley, went on to a stellar career with the Canberra Raiders, NSW, and Australia and now coaches the Blues’ State of Origin team. The other, Laurie Perry, also a five-eighth/centre, was crushed in an underground collapse at the Liddell Colliery in early January 1990 and never played football again. Singleton Rugby League Club had appointed Richard Jones as captain-coach for the 1990 season and the first person he rang was Laurie Perry, who was playing for Maitland Pumpkin Pickers. ‘Because of the accident I never got the chance to play with Jonesy,’ says Laurie. ‘Singleton went on to win Group 21 undefeated and were awarded the Clayton Cup as the best team in Country Rugby League. It was just how my luck was going back then.’ Laurie was in the wrong place at the wrong time … an isolated section of an underground mine half an hour before knock-off. The rib came out of the wall of a 20-metre high seam and locked him against the loader he’d been operating. ‘I didn’t feel that much when it happened, but the problems hit when they started to get me out,’ he says. ‘My leg was still hooked up against the loader.’ He also sustained four broken ribs and a punctured lung. But he is forever grateful to workmates Neil Loadsman, Dave Parkinson, Wayne Caslick and Jimmy Lever. When they got him to the top and he saw the Rescue Helicopter his spirits lifted. ‘I was conscious throughout the whole episode and once I got to Royal Newcastle they whacked some dye in my body and said if it doesn’t run to your toes we’re going to have to amputate your leg. Thankfully it reached my toes. I was watching the whole thing like a punter. I was cheering on the dye saying “go, go”.’ After two-and-a-half years of rehabilitation, he returned to work on light duties and motocross champion, Stephen Gall, fitted him with a leg brace. But six months later, Laurie was retrenched. Richard Jones is of course the Rescue Helicopter’s CEO and he and Laurie have stayed in touch. Now Laurie and his mates have come to the party in their support of the Service. When they celebrate (L-R) GENEROUS MATES SCOTT WILD, PHIL CURNOW, ALAN WHATHAM (AGRICULTURE HOTEL PUBLICAN), PHIL SCHOFIELD, LAURIE PERRY AND BARRY BURLEY milestones, they ask guests to make a contribution rather than buy gifts. ‘I realised what a good idea it was,’ says Laurie. ‘Sport brings people together. The Rescue Helicopter has certainly helped my family. It also airlifted my wife Tracey to John Hunter Hospital in 2009 with suspected meningococcal. So it’s good to promote it from personal experience.’ Laurie Daley is now the Indigenous All Stars coach. Laurie Perry is CEO of Singleton-based Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation … and a valued fund-raiser for the Service. READ THE FULL STORY ON THE WRHS WEBSITE >> Rescue Magazine AUTUMN 2017 3
Rescue Winter 2017