Bob marks 35 years with Gympie Cricket Association
GYMPIE cricket stalwart Bob "Bobby" Blackburn has recently received a letter from Cricket Australia congratulating him on 35 years of service to the sport.
"I think it is an honour to receive a letter from the Australian Cricket Board," Blackburn said.
"I think it is a big achievement to get something like that."
The Western Gympie Cricket Club life member has spent majority of his years of service with the club as secretary and treasurer, only retiring in August last year.
"After getting to 80 (years old) I thought I'd let someone else have a go," he said.
Blackburn, 81, has dedicated most of his time to Wests, but has also made major contributions to the Gympie cricketing community over the years.
Blackburn played his first game for the Colts at Albert Park in 1966, as well as playing for Valleys for a few years before settling at Wests to end his career.
He said he always loved cricket and it did not matter where he played it.
While playing reserve grade for Colts in his early days, Blackburn remembered when he scored three consecutive centuries over three weeks, making 132 not out, 150 not out and 100.
The Gympie-born man was president of the Gympie Cricket Association for seven years and is well-known for his endless support and management role with the Stirling Homes Gympie Gold XI A-grade side.
Blackburn said he had been backing the team as manager since the Gympie side first started playing in the Sunshine Coast Cricket competition up until the last few years.
One of Blackburn's most memorable moments was being presented with Gympie Cricket Association life memembership by good friend Jim Geiger, with whom he worked at the club organising raffles and helping out.
Western Gympie Cricket Club president Scott McIntosh said Blackburn used to run the whole show for the Gympie Gold, along with his wife Shirley.
"Gympie cricket was a big part of his life for over 35 years," he said.
"He has been really great.
"It is a good honour for the work he has done in the Gympie community."
McIntosh said the club honoured Blackburn at a meeting earlier this month, with Ron Buchholz presenting the prestigious award on behalf of Queensland Cricket from whom he also received a bag of "goodies".
The Cricket Australia letter said: "Cricket thrives on the enormous effort provided by volunteers and I know we at Cricket Australia and the State Territory cricket associations are very appreciative of this effort and acknowledge it's what makes cricket strong in Australia."
"He is really dedicated to it (cricket) and put his heart and soul in it," McIntosh said.
McIntosh said Blackburn was always involved with representative cricket and in particular the under-19 Gympie side.
HE would always travel to the games and help with managing the sides.
"He never missed a game and still doesn't," McIntosh said.
McIntosh said it would make Blackburn very happy when the team ran off the field taking home the shield.
Blackburn, who picked up the bat at age 12, said he has seen many changes in cricket over time.
He said some of the biggest changes he had seen had been watching the players who are now representing Gympie grow from boys to men with their own children now.
When seeing him around the sheds, all the players greet him with "Hey Bobby", where previously he had always been referred to as Mr Blackburn.
Blackburn was always there when the Gold made a final but unfortunately during his time as manager he was never able to see them win a two-day premiership.
"I want to be there when they win their first (two-day) premiership," he said.
Gympie Gold player Lewis Waugh said Blackburn and his wife provided the side with morning tea and lunches and were always selling raffle tickets to raise money for the team.
"Without his voluntary work we wouldn't be where we are today," he said.