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Rodney Thorneycroft Memorial at Healesville

It was no surprise when Nervous An Weird finished first in the Rodney Thorneycroft Memorial at Healesville on Sunday.

With seven wins from seven starts, Ashlee Terry’s two-year-old chaser is in top form. He led all the way, finishing in 18.91 seconds. He confirmed his position as one of the hottest young greyhounds in Victoria with his win in the $14,300 Bendigo Gold Rush Maiden Series a few weeks ago.

It was another strong performance on Sunday in a race that is special for many people, not least the Thorneycroft family who turned up in force to honour the memory of Rodney Thorneycroft.

Rodney Thorneycroft was a founding member of the Healesville club, along with his brother Gary and parents, Margaret and Ron. They are all life members and former committee members. At various times Rodney was treasurer, secretary, lure driver and he held many other positions around the club, depending on what needed to be done.

Twelve years ago, Rodney died just weeks after being diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of 39, leaving behind a 16-week-old baby and a two-year-old toddler. Ebony and Madison, who are now 12 and 14, were at the track on Sunday to watch the race that honours their father.

Gary said it meant a lot to the family that the club continued to honour Rodney’s name.

“Rod loved the dogs and the club. His heart was in Healesville,” he said.

The Healesville Greyhound Association’s manager, Cynthia O’Brien, paid tribute to Rodney and the entire family.

“They really are one of the families that are part of the fabric of the Healesville history,” Cynthia said.

It is no exaggeration to say that the family helped build the club from the ground up. They spent many days on working bees and ran bingo nights and other fundraisers. Margaret ran a make-shift canteen from a caravan in the early days.

“There was nothing but a grass paddock,” Gary recalls.

Gary is still very involved with racing and the club. He spent 32 years on the club’s committee, including time as president, and currently races four dogs. In January this year, he had his first city win with Shy Freddie at Sandown.

Margaret and Ron are regulars at the club and Ebony and Madison help Gary with his dogs.

Gary said greyhound racing “brings the whole family together, which is what we have always tried to do”.

Photo: Rodney Thorneycroft’s family with Nervous An Weird

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