LAST October Cooma lost one of its citizens to a mountain biking accident near the coastal town of Tathra. Bede Nichols was a popular local tradesman and well-known for his engagement in a wide variety of community groups and activities, from the Rural Fire Service to cycling and tennis clubs and perhaps, most influentially, the Cooma Red Devils Rugby Club.
Bede was one of those who fervently believe that Rugby is “the game they play in Heaven” but, having determined early on that he probably didn’t have the talent to become a Wallaby, devoted much of his time to making sure the game was played as well and fairly as he could. He began training to be a referee and, over a lengthy career in that capacity, is thought to have officiated at more games than almost any other referee in New South Wales amateur rugby.
The Cooma Red Devils Rugby Club recently had its annual “Old Boys” luncheon and game, where a new seating stand was dedicated to Bede. Named the Bede Nichols Stand, members of his family attended and many former Red Devils.
Having regularly refereed past veterans’ games, Bede would have been pleased with the consistent annual result – a draw – and the contribution made by former Wallabies Nick Farr-Jones and Peter- Fitzsimons.
Mr Farr-Jones and Mr Fitzsimons addressed the Old Boys pre-match luncheon and played in their capacity as the office bearers of The Cauliflower Club, a charity committed to providing sporting and recreational equipment to enhance the lives of those with a disability, with a bias towards sporting related injuries.