‘Friendly’ by name and by nature

Northern Sydney Welfare Officers Norm Pounder, Fred Jackson and Ken Vessey had the pleasure to visit Brian Friend OAM aka ‘Friendly’ at his home, whilst he was recuperating from surgery on his left shoulder. ‘Friendly’ is a unique and well respected character in the Many Warringah District who has spent a lifetime involved in rugby league, touch football, Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club and assisting numerous charitable organisations. 

He played for 13 years in various teams with the Narrabeen ‘Sharks’ Junior Rugby League Football Club before becoming actively involved with the Avalon ‘Bulldogs’ Junior Rugby League Football Club where he continued coaching junior teams, was President from 1966-1968 and was honoured with Life Membership in 1986.

Since 2005, Brian has played with the Narrabeen Sharks in the Masters Rugby League Competitions (now 38 teams in NSW), has been a member of the Australian Master’s Teams since 2006 and the touring teams to the UK in 2008 and 2013. At the moment he is hoping his recovery will allow him to be part of the 2017 touring party to the UK.

On other sporting fronts, he is a Co-Founder/Executive Member of the Warringah Touch Football Association since 1983 and was granted Life Membership in 1993. He holds a NSW Referee’s Ticket and in his spare time controls the centre in many junior rugby league games. The Manly Warringah District Junior Rugby League Football Club (Inc) granted him Life Membership in 2012.

In his professional career ‘Friendly’ was a proud member of the NSW Police Force for 32 years – 30 years of which was spent with the NSW Water Police.  He has some interesting stories about some of the VIP’s he had on his vessels including Prince Charles and Princess Diane, George Bush Snr and General Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf KCB to name a few.

During his service with the NSW Police Force he was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery 1974 and the NSW Police Commissioner’s Commendation in 1974. Not stopping there, he has received many Civic Awards including:

– Centenary Medal 2000
– Pittwater Council Australia Day Citizen of the Year 2000
– Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division OAM 2014. 
Brian has a loving family comprising of wife Robyn, three sons, two daughter in-laws and five grandchildren (one boy and four girls) and he relishes his time with them all.

We presented Brian with a Men of League polo shirt and cap in appreciation and recognition of his tremendous support as a Men of League member and his tireless efforts in fostering the game of rugby league throughout all levels. Brian was touched by our visit, our kind words and he thanked us, also wishing the Foundation continued success and assuring us of his continued support.

Brian told us his life in rugby league had ‘kept him going’ but we came away convinced that he has been and is a major factor in keeping rugby league going in the District.

Images –  Ken Vessey, Brian ‘Friendly’ Friend, Fred Jackson and Norm Pounder

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