Robert Claydon – A Man of Great Courage

When Northern Sydney Welfare Officers Norm Pounder and Ken Vessey paid an unexpected visit at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney to met Robert Claydon (Men of League Member and active Member of the North West Committee) from Tamworth they were amazed by Robert’s courage considering that only days before he had undergone surgery to have part of his right leg amputated.

Robert informed us he was born and bred in Barraba, NSW and now lives in Tamworth. Robert is a part of the Group 4 NSW Country League territory which has produced great rugby league players like Ron Turner, John Donnelly, John O’Neill and Jim Leiss. In his early rugby league playing days he was a lock forward or centre and played for the Barraba Bulldogs from junior teams to A Grade before moving to continue his playing days at Sawtell and then with Goulburn Workers Club. He recalled in his schooldays he had the pleasure to play against the Cleal Brothers, Noel and Les, and he still remembers the encounters.

Robert went on to tell us that as a result of a trucking accident some 18 years ago he was a paraplegic plus in recent years he had part of his left leg amputated too and we were further amazed by Robert’s outlook on life and his spirit. He told us how much he enjoys his involvement with the North West Men of League Committee and most importantly his life with his lovely wife Rhonda, son Nicholas, daughter Lisa and 3 grandchildren Levi, Lexi and Milla.
On the NRL rugby league scene he has remained a true blue Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Club supporter since they entered the 1st Grade Competition in 1967 and whilst the Club has not yet won a Grand Final, having played in 3 Grand Finals, he is confident their time will come in the near future. He added he remains good friends with his schoolboy mate Warren Fisher who went onto play 68 1st Grade games for Cronulla Sutherland as a Fullback between 1973 and 1978.
We wished Robert and a speedy recovery, good health and an early return to his home town of Tamworth; Robert was most appreciative for our visit and our chat about rugby league and the Men of League. 
Ken Vessey

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