Wauchope Thunder Annual Memorial Day July 15 2017

SADLY MISSED: John Tavaga playing for Wauchope Thunder in 2015.  PHOTO: MATT ATTARD.

SADLY MISSED: John Tavaga playing for Wauchope Thunder in 2015. PHOTO: MATT ATTARD.

The Wauchope Thunder will again be hosting their annual Memorial Day this Saturday July 15, against the Port Macquarie Pirates at Andrews Park in Cameron Street in Wauchope.

This is a day the Thunder started back in 2015 when their close friend and team mate John Tavaga’s wife, Taegan Grace passed from cervical cancer. They continued it in 2016 and will again this year.

This year, however, it has now become a day to not only remember Taegan Grace but also their friend John Tavaga who tragically lost his life late last year.

JT was a bloke with a huge heart and an infectious smile, even through the worst kind of heartache imaginable.

Matt Attard

The day will consist of the great game that is Rugby Union starting with the under 14’s, followed by the Women’s, Reserve grade and the day will finish off with the First grade game.

Wauchope Thunder will proudly take the field in a specially designed jersey as they have done every year.  This year the jersey was designed especially with Taegan and John in mind. The artist who designed Walter Hati was a good friend of JT’s

Fellow player and Port Macquarie News journalist Matt Attard has very fond memories of his friend.

“JT was a bloke with a huge heart and an infectious smile, even through  the worst kind of heartache imaginable,” said Matt.

“He was always there for me, because that's the kind of guy he was. He was there for everyone and  everyone was his "bro".

“He shared love, always. He was always motivating me, and always cracking a joke. I miss him very much, and I know everyone who had any kind of relationship feels the same,” said Matt.

Their will be a number of jerseys to be auctioned off. The Thunder have been able to source a few #12 jerseys from numerous clubs to help with their cause, #12 being the number JT used to wear.

A few will be auctioned off in a silent auction while some of the other jersey’s including a signed Wallabies Jersey, a signed Waratahs Jersey and a few other key jerseys will be auctioned off at the after match presentation at the Hastings Hotel.

The Thunder will have full bar and canteen facilities on the day, a jumping castle, temporary tattoos and face painting. There will be a raffle with some great prizes to be won, and a popcorn and cotton candy stand.

Money raised will go to the Palliative Care unit in Wauchope and the Motor Neurone Disease foundation on behalf of the Shore family who recently lost their father to MND.