Jackson steps down as Rockhampton club boss

Caption: Nev Jackson with Forever Words … one of the dogs that survived the tragic accident on the Bruce Highway that killed two greyhounds.

By MIKE HILL

ROCKHAMPTON’S long-serving president Nev Jackson has stood down after more than a decade in the chair.

\”It\’s something I\’d been thinking about for some time,\” Jackson, 83 this year, said. \”Let\’s face it, time waits for no one.

\”I thought it was the right time to step down.\”

However, he remains part of the club executive as vice-president, although he did indicate he would step away completely at the end of the year, while Dallas Beckett takes over as president.

\”I believe in change … young blood, new ideas, more enthusiasm … that\’s what clubs need,\” said Jackson, who lives in Mackay more than 350km from the Rockhampton track.

\”I would have probably retired earlier, but I wanted to see all the club\’s major works finalised.

\”Hopefully, the last of the big projects – the new tower – will be completed this year.\”

Jackson, who admits having a deep love for the greyhound breed, said he was comfortable with his decision.

\”I\’ll be leaving the club in a much better financial position than when I took over 11 years ago,\” he said.

\”Financially the club is very sound.

\”Hopefully, our new tower will be completed this year which will allow me to walk away contented.\”

Jackson said an accident, in which two of the family\’s greyhounds were killed last November, hadn\’t been a major factor in his decision to step down.

However, he did admit it had been a frightening and emotional experience.

Jackson had been travelling home to Mackay from a Rockhampton meeting with his daughter Michelle Brider and grandson Peter Payne when the dog trailer carrying six dogs broke away from the car.

\”The trailer somersaulted several times before coming to rest on its side in the middle of the Bruce Highway about 40km north of Rockhampton,\” he said.

\”It was about 11pm and we were extremely lucky there were no other vehicles around us at the time.

\”We flagged down two semi-trailers and the drivers helped to block the highway and get the trailer and injured dogs off the road.

\”Two dogs died instantly in the accident, three were rescued and one went missing.

\”The missing dog Spitfire Speed was discovered five days later next to the wrecked trailer by three chaps on their way to work.

\”They caught him with the aid of a Macca\’s cheeseburger they were eating at the time.

\”Dallas Beckett had only given the dog to Peter (Payne) a few hours before the accident and because the dog was closer to Rocky it went back to Dallas.

\”It  has since gone to someone at Bundaberg.

\”Spitfire Speed and the other three surviving dogs suffered cuts and bruising, however, they have recovered and all except one have resuming racing.

\”That dog, who was already on the adoption program when the accident happened, has gone to a new home.\”

Spitfire Speed resumed racing at Bundaberg last month with a second placing for new trainer Greg Kennedy.

Jackson paid tribute to the police and fire rescue officers who attended the accident.

\”They were excellent. We couldn\’t have asked for more support,\” he said.

Jackson also thanked Mark and Judy Bube, who brought their trailer from Rocky to the accident site so they could take the injured dogs home.

A man true to his life mantra – Always give back as much as you can to the organisation you are associated with – he has spent almost five decades in greyhound administration in Queensland.

Before joining Rockhampton, Jackson was a member of the 1974 steering committee that eventually established greyhound racing in Mackay two years later. And before that club\’s closure in 2009, he had served in all positions on the committee, except race secretary, including several stints as president.

\”I never had any intentions of joining Rockhampton after the Mackay track closed,\” he said.

\”I was in the process of scaling down the kennels when my daughter asked me one day if I would go down to a Rocky meeting with her.

\”I said \’why not\’ and nominated a couple of dogs I still had in the kennels.

\”Since then I have only missed about five or six meetings in my 11-year association with the club.

\”And I estimate I have travelled more than 750,000km in that time going to meetings.\”

Jackson admits canines have played a huge part in his life.

A show judge for 45 years, he has been a member of Dogs Queensland, the governing body of the show dog world, for most of his adult life and as well as being a well-respected international judge. He has been an All Breeds judge for 15 years.

Jackson has been honoured over the years with life membership for service to Dogs Queensland, the Mackay Greyhound Racing Club and the Rockhampton Racing Greyhound Club.

PAWNOTE: The new Rockhampton committee is President, Dallas Beckett; vice-president, Nev Jackson; treasurer, Mark Bube; secretary, Leonie Gillett; committee, Judy Bube, Peter Payne, Jordan Taylor.

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