Final farewell to our much loved bowls columnist
IT'S with a heavy heart that we say our final farewell to Greg Kelly, who sadly passed away after a short illness on Wednesday.
Mr Kelly, 75, died peacefully at John Flynn Hospital, with his wife of 50 years, Coral Kelly, by his side.
Mr Kelly leaves behind Coral and two sons, Anthony and Ashley, and their two grandchildren.
"He was a beautiful man, we had a wonderful, wonderful life together,” Mrs Kelly said.
"He always had a great love of bowls, he dedicated his whole life to bowls and to his family.”
Mr Kelly wrote his weekly 'On the Mat' column for the Tweed Daily News for around 20 years, submitting his final column last week from his sick bed.
Dedicated to the end, it was in that column he announced it would be his last: "As I have now reached retiring age, this will be my last One the Mat report,” he wrote.
"I sincerely thank the Daily News staff and you, the readers, for the support you have given me over many years.”
A champion bowler himself, Mr Kelly grew up in Victoria before he began playing bowls in his mid 20s, winning 11 singles bowls championships during his sporting career.
Mr Kelly and his family moved up to the Tweed some 24 years ago, where he soon became active in the bowling community and worked as the Bowls Development Officer at Tweed Heads Bowls Club for five years.
Former TDN sports editor Bob Anthony said Greg would be sorely missed.
"During the years I worked at the Tweed Daily News, I had the pleasure of working with Greg Kelly as a bowls columnist, media liaison for various tournaments and also through his passion for the Tweed Theatre Company,” Mr Anthony said.
"But it was his love of lawn bowls which impressed me the most and his passion for the sport was undeniable.
"It didn't matter if it was a club game or an international event, if it was bowls, Greg was across it.
"Numerous times he lured me onto the indoor green at the Tweed Heads Bowls Club for corporate events and being the straight shooter that he was, suggested ever so politely that I 'spend a little more time on the greens'.
"He really enjoyed seeing up and coming talent develop and was extremely proud the Tweed bowls clubs were able and willing to stage tournaments which are now mainstays on the Australian bowls calendar.
"His knowledge of the sport was enviable, matched only by his friendly nature and ability to engage with anyone about the sport he loved.
"His contribution to the TDN will be sorely missed not only by locals but by the broader bowls community. I hope Greg finds himself 'jack high' where ever he ends up.”
The family will hold a small, private funeral. They asked donations be made to the The Cancer Council in lieu of flowers.
GREG KELLY'S BOWLING ACHIEVEMENTS:
Tweed Heads Bowls Club:
- 2 Singles Club Championships. First to win both Indoor and Outdoor Singles Championships in one year.
- Bowls Coach and advisor.
- Bowls Administrator for five years.
Box Hill Bowls Club:
- Runner up Club Champion first year 1970. Joined the Club with father in law Reg Holmes. They played and won many games together until Reg passed away in 1988.
Mt Eliza Bowls Club from 1976:
- 6 Club Singles Championships
- 6 Club Pairs Championships
- 3 Club Triple Championships
Mornington Civic Bowls Club:
- 3 Club Singles Championships
- 2 Club Pairs Championships
- 2 Club Mixed Pairs Championships
- Fours - Semi-Finalist
- Singles Semi-Finalist
- Champion of Champion 1986
- Champion of Champions Singles Winner 1988
- Champion of Champions Fours Winner 1991
PBA - Peninsula Bowls Association
- 3 Champion of Champions Singles
- 2 Singles Winner
- 1 Pairs Winner
- 2 Triples Winner
- 1 Fours Winner
Ballina Bowls Club
- Summerland Pairs Winner. Organised many tournaments for the Club.