Rugby league legend and Royal Hotel owner Shane Webcke helps raise funds at the Sportsmen’s Night.
Rugby league legend and Royal Hotel owner Shane Webcke helps raise funds at the Sportsmen’s Night.

Supporting the future sports stars

IT was a star-studded affair at the Royal Hotel in Leyburn on Saturday night.

The annual Sportsmen's Night attracted around 350 people who helped raise money for junior rugby and country community groups.

VIPs, including former NSW and Australia representative footballer Matthew Johns, former Broncos star Allan Langer and coach Wayne Bennett, gathered with rugby league legend and owner of the Royal Hotel, Shane Webcke, for the evening.

The event has been running for four years and organiser Brad Stranks, who is president of Albany Creek, said the night was getting bigger and better every year.

Around $35,000 was raised at the dinner through auctions and raffles.

The top selling item was a 1980 signed State of Origin shirt that sold for $13,000.

Guest speakers were Allan Langer, Shane Webcke, Matthew Johns, Chris Close, Pat Welsh, Andrew Gee, Wayne Bennett, Tim Horan and Billy J Smith.

Mr Stranks said it was hugely important to host the event somewhere like Leyburn.

“It gives the night a more natural and relaxed atmosphere than you would get in a concrete jungle.

“People can come and enjoy themselves with the easy-going country hospitality.”

He said it was important to support country football and community groups that would otherwise be neglected.

“You see parents drive for two or three hours every weekend to take their kids to the games,” he said.

“There are no subsidies and no help, so we think it is really important to give something back to the kids and the community.”

Mr Stranks said these young people would be Australia's future stars.

He extended his thanks to all the guest speakers, attendees and hotel staff.



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