Local Legend - Geoff Jackson 'Jacko'

In many communities there are individuals whose go over and above the normal because they love doing what they do. I would like to take a moment to congratulate a great man and champion of the Australian spirit, Geoff Jackson, a member of the Bridgewater community, who, at 69—and far from out—just umpired his 700th cricket match, in a match between Old Beach and Collinsvale. In the area they simply refer to Geoff as Jacko. Jacko began his journey as an umpire in the Derwent Valley in 1997 before moving to the Southern Cricket Association in 2001. Geoff took up the role of umpire due to the shortage of officials in the 1990s, and he has not looked back. For the past six year, he's been the Southern Cricket Association's umpire adviser. When Jacko was asked if he had any retirement plans, he said, 'I'll go a couple more years yet, I reckon.' Asked if he could get to 1,000 matches, he said, 'It's not out of the picture.'

Jacko also has another passion, as president of the Brighton Show. This annual event, except of course for this year, sees 30,000 people flock to the area for one of the best rural shows in Tasmania. Geoff and I worked very closely on the funding application for the Regional Agricultural Show Development Grants, announced by the government earlier this year. The government at the time inexplicably said that Brighton didn't meet the criteria because, apparently, it's not in a rural area. Anybody who's been to the Brighton Show knows that it is a pre-eminent agricultural event and that there's plenty of country in Brighton. After lobbying the Deputy Prime Minister, we had the criteria waived—and I would like to thank the Deputy Prime Minister for that—and we were successful in getting $70,000 for a new animal shelter area.

It has to be said that Geoff Jackson has a ripping Mo, as you'd expect from a cricketing legend. It's not as good as Boony's and not as up there as Merv Hughes's, but it is a ripper to say the least. He is a true cricket legend. It is men and women like Geoff Jackson that keep our community spirit alive. As we creep closer to Christmas, after what's been a very difficult year for many people, we need that community spirit more than ever. I encourage people to get out to their local cricket club and watch a match or two. If you see Jacko umpiring a game, give him the raspberry and question his ability to see better than your grandmother. The response will be entertaining—but, unfortunately, unprincipled!