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Rugby union legend farewelled

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Gerard Landon. Photo: Supplied
Gerard Landon. Photo: Supplied

Hundreds of people filled St Kevin’s church in Eastwood to farewell rugby union legend ‘Mr Programs’ Gerard Landon after his death aged 76 on 5 January.

For decades his name was synonymous with Eastwood Rugby Club, the ‘Woodies’, but the life member, who sold footy programs at the oval since he was around 13, was equally devoted to his Catholic faith and worked for the St Vincent de Paul Society since the age of 15.

Born in Cootamundra in south-central New South Wales with significant health problems, Landon never took a backwards step and even lived far longer than his parents had been warned to expect.

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Mourners at his funeral on 12 January heard how he was devoted to serving others.

He was the first volunteer for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and proudly carried the Olympic flame in the official torch relay through the streets of Cootamundra.

He also volunteered for Wheelchair Sports Australia, and the Sydney Special Olympics Team through his life.

Family, faith, footy were his pillars.

“Gerard lived out his faith by loving God and loving others,” said his youngest sister Therese Wilkinson in her words of remembrance.

“He was independent and travelled the world with his friends.

“Nothing seemed to stop him from doing what he wanted and the way he wanted it, yet he ensured that he was available if anyone needed help.

“He was recently appointed as a member to the senior advisor committee at Epping RSL and when asked why he did this he simply said “that everyone deserves a voice.”

Eastwood Rugby Club general manager Robert Frost said “everyone in rugby knew who Gerry was” and his catch cry of “programs!” was known throughout Sydney.

“He was an accredited touch judge, ball boy, team manager, statistician, hoarder of memorabilia and somewhere along the way he became a genuine icon,” he said.

Gerard is survived by his six siblings, 19 nieces and nephews, 21 great-nieces and nephews, and four great-grand nieces and nephews.

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