As sunshine bathed the Sydney Grammar sports fields on Monday 20 January, it also set the scene for the 140 invited guests who attended a memorial breakfast in the Weigall Pavilion proudly partnered by Bourke St Bakery, prior to the unveiling of “The Coops” a bell dedicated to Cooper Rice-Brading.
It was on that day three short years ago, Cooper defied the odds, and stepped onto the field with his team mates, only months after a gruelling surgery and chemotherapy regime, to take five wickets against Melbourne Grammar School, contesting “The Bat”.
This would turn out to be a day of much joy for Cooper, and one that meant so much to him, after being given the opportunity to once more play the game he loved so much. This was largely due to the efforts of Alan Campbell, Master of Cricket, and GPS cricket convenor, Ross Turner.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sydney Grammar School for this very appropriate, and deeply meaningful gesture, and in particular, Dr Ricahrd Malpass, Dr John Valance, Mr Phillip Barr, Mr Jonathan Redenbach, Mr Alan Campbell, Mr Jason Slater, Sargent Greg Bolger, Ms Ann Quinn, Ms Rita Fin, and Mr Luke Colbron together with John Watson, Father of 1st X1 captain Jackson Watson 1st X1 players and parents. These remarkable individuals all contributed greatly to Cooper’s life, and to the memorial at Weigall which will perpetuate his memory.
We also wish to extend our deepest gratitude to the ever fabulous Peter FizSimons, who gave his time on the morning, to host the Captain’s Forum. Peter is a seasoned media professional, and his personable manner, his litany of fascinating stories, and outstanding ability to recall facts and figures on call, held the audience captive.
Peter and Cooper spoke at a philanthropic event at the Great Hall, Sydney University in November of 2016. A mutual admiration was formed, and Peter championed Cooper’s vision through his column on numerous occasions. Since Cooper’s passing, Peter has continued his support of CRBF, and we are so very grateful to him for his friendship and for shining the light on sarcoma.
The morning would not have been complete without the outstanding young men who participated in our Captain’s Forum. Tom Sutcliffe, Cameron McLean, Robin Evans, Will Yeaman, Callum Brown, Charles Abels, and Jackson Watson, recounted stories from their time as captain of the SGS 1ST x1, mixed with some beautiful memories of their time playing with Cooper. We cannot thank each of these young men for their participation, and providing highly entertaining memories of SGS cricket.
Finally, we thank Seb Aroney, Director of MP Solutions, who once more coordinated all AV on the morning, and our Executive Fundraising Committee – Gloria Gapes, Nikki Yeaman, Claire Bonic, Kirsten Martensen, Lisa Scribner, Martin Rossleigh, together with Suzie Carlon and Kim Rossleigh for the work they each placed into the event. This breakfast simply would not have been possible without you!