Heath­cote’s Ron Walker is as blue-blooded as you can get

McIvor Times - - NEWS -

HE MIGHT not be an AFL leg­end but there aren’t too many peo­ple in down­town Heath­cote who get per­sonal vis­its from cur­rent play­ers.

Or are on first name terms with sev­eral coaches.

And have for­mer greats giv­ing them the oc­ca­sional ring to see how they are go­ing.

But at the Heath­cote Health hos­tel it’s not hard to spot Ron­ald Walker – or re­alise here is a guy with navy blue blood run­ning through his veins.

If the Carl­ton sign hang­ing on his door isn’t enough of a hint, drop in and check out his Carl­ton doona cover and match­ing pil­low case.

Or walls hid­den be­hind Carl­ton me­mora­bilia.

No doubt about it; our man Ron lives; breathes and dreams Carl­ton.

And he was liv­ing that dream last week when some of the big guns from his beloved Blues made the trip north to catch up with one of their most de­voted sup­port­ers.

“It was very good, I was re­ally ex­cited and happy to see them, it was a great honor,” Ron said.

Levi Cas­boult, Matthew Kennedy, Lachie Plow­man and An­gus Schu­macher were the play­ers who got the op­por­tu­nity to come and spend a bit of time with Ron.

He has been a Carl­ton Foot­ball Club mem­ber for more than 62 years – and count­ing.

For decades he was a cor­ner­stone of the club’s cheer squad and was still help­ing out on the big ban­ner for ev­ery game into his 70s.

The tow­er­ing Cas­boult, all 201cm of him, even men­tioned he missed see­ing Ron at the games – and missed see­ing him in the ac­tion with the cheer squad.

Ron said he won’t for­get chat­ting with the im­pos­ing full for­ward/ruck­man.

“He is a big boy that Levi Cas­boult,” he said in the un­der­state­ment of the visit.

The play­ers spent quite a while with Ron and signed au­to­graphs and posed for photos.

“We just chat­ted about gen­eral things, how they were en­joy­ing their footy and stuff,” Ron said.

He might not get to games these days but in his time Ron has seen eight Carl­ton pre­mier­ships.

He knows Carl­ton’s form in re­cent sea­sons has been a far cry from the glory days but that has no im­pact on his love for, and be­lief in, his team; his boys.

“I reckon they are head­ing in the right di­rec­tion,” Ron said.

“I like this coach we have now, Bren­don Bolton – I think if the club just sticks with it they will be OK.”

One of the proud­est pieces of me­mora­bilia hang­ing on Ron’s wall is his per­sonal mes­sage from play­ing leg­end Stephen Ker­na­han, when he was Carl­ton pres­i­dent, thank­ing him, for his “per­sonal con­tri­bu­tion to the Club as one of its long­est stand­ing mem­bers”.

Footy clubs, all clubs, need peo­ple such as Ron, they are the fab­ric that makes those clubs, and the teams they field, such an in­te­gral part of their com­mu­ni­ties.

Ron also has a few sto­ries of his own to share from his time as a diehard sup­porter.

He re­mem­bers turn­ing up to a Carl­ton train­ing ses­sion one day, only to dis­cover it was closed to the pub­lic.

Brett Rat­ten – the Carl­ton coach at the time – knew Ron as one of the club’s great char­ac­ters and snuck him in to watch.

Ron also talks fondly of the sup­port he re­ceived from ex-Carl­ton full­for­ward Bren­dan Fevola dur­ing one of the tough­est pe­ri­ods of his own life – when he had been di­ag­nosed with lym­phoma in his 50s, at a time he was one of the most ac­tive mem­bers of the Carl­ton cheer squad.

He re­mem­bers weekly phone calls from Fevola, check­ing up and see­ing how he was go­ing. It’s a favour he will never for­get. The team at Heath­cote Health won’t for­get the visit in a hurry ei­ther, and wanted to share their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the Carl­ton play­ers tak­ing the time to make the trip to Heath­cote.

“A big thank you to Matthew, Lachie, An­gus and Levi for com­ing – it cer­tainly bright­ened ev­ery­one’s day,” Heath­cote Health ac­tiv­i­ties co­or­di­na­tor Linda Bar­row said.

And gave Ron some­thing new to dream about, un­der his Blues’ doona, with his head down for the night on his navy blue pil­low with the white CFC brand em­bla­zoned on it.

‘ I reckon they are head­ing in the right di­rec­tion. I like this coach we have now, Bren­don Bolton – I think if the club just sticks with it they ’ will be OK

Ron Walker pic­tured with his spe­cial visi­tors, Carl­ton play­ers Lachie Plow­man, Matt Kennedy, An­gus Schu­macher and Levi Cas­boult. Ron’s hos­tel room at Heath­cote Health is a vir­tual shrine to his beloved Blues.

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