At the 1974 Castlemaine Technical College a special man by the name of Roy Jones came to teach, influencing my life even to this day. He was different and not because of the evidence of the loss of an eye and right forearm. He openly showed a zest to live a full life in every moment and the basic human need of being accepted and respected.
Roy was a young man in England in 1948 riding for a local cycling club Cheshire Road winning a National Title in the 12 hour road team in appalling conditions of torrential rains. Holding the medal as if it was yesterday a glow came across Roy’s face of his first day of cycling and many subsequent memories of racing, training and road touring weekend. Roy laughed long and loud sharing a trip to the Isle of Mann to watch the motor cycle racing where cyclists took to the track after the main racing showing that they were just as crazy as the motorcyclists, and getting into trouble being late to work Monday morning after a long ferry ride to Liverpool and a 35 mile ride to work.
Prying more from Roy what was the success and lasting memories of these days for him to hold so dear to his heart, came a simple response. “There was never an incident where anyone made a mistake that it was not made light of heart of.” Roy reflected that the club thrived on banter and barter of good humour and acceptance of not taking anyone more serious than another it was the bull dust mixed with suffering in hard work giving rise to great pleasure.
In 1949 Roy chose to leave the shores of England for the Land Down Under following his then fiancée (who he never married) and Bendigo became a destination. The 1950s hold a special memory with Roy winning the Bendigo and District Cycling Club 50 miles club championship in a field that contained an up and coming young Jack Trickey who subsequently rode some 6 years later in the Melbourne Olympics (leaving Roy with the lasting hope that he may well have had a small influence on Jack at this very early stage of his cycling career).
When returning to Bendigo after a cycling race at Durham Ox in his faithful Rudolph the 1927 vintage bull nose Morris Roy with 4 other cyclist including Jack Trickey, had a collision with a vehicle towing a caravan leaving Roy with a broken arm and glass from the rear vision mirror lodged in his eye. A series of decision that today would have been run of the mill caused Roy to lose both an eye and forearm. Roy drawing on his resourcefulness and desire to survive rose above the life changing incident, he was never a taker, more of a giver, giving life a chance in his set circumstances. Roy found exercise allowed the negatives that bombarded his life not to incapacitate his mind. An hour of solid exercise and solitude gave the mind a chance to be refreshed and open to lateral thinking and ideas formed in the mind to become reality.
Roy was instrumental in 1957 in the formation of the Eaglehawk YMCA Boys Club and has fond memories of many names that now hold prominence in our community. Roy ran in State Marathon Titles, sailed his Moth yacht in many competitions, attended the first World Masters in Toronto Canada making top ten in his cycling road race (ranked as an able body cyclist despite his amputation) was also was a baton carrier in the Queens relay for the Commonwealth Games. You name it Roy has made it, attempted it or helped with it.
Roy being a natural teacher of life’s gift spent many years as a disabled ski instructor and drew great delight in assisting others despite a disability gain enjoyment in sport. Roy sums up his life in part with the words of a poem he penned. One eye, one arm and one ambition. By wear of age on path of attrition, I sail I ride both bike and horse, I ski and swim and run because I body whole I need to prove a brain to satisfy and sooth the negatives of life I find will only incapacitate my mind, I raced in fine and weather foul but never did throw in the towel. Roy will be 85 years old in 2011.
Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing.