Stirling ‘hits the Jack’ for special needs kids

Published on LEUT Will Singer (author)

Location(s): Rockingham, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, Charities, Fundraising & Community, Lawn Bowls

The HMAS Toowoomba team looks on as Able Seaman Communications and Information Systems Spencer Doyle sends his first bowl towards the jack. (photo: Unknown)
The HMAS Toowoomba team looks on as Able Seaman Communications and Information Systems Spencer Doyle sends his first bowl towards the jack.

Lawn bowls may invoke images of the elderly, but for a group of Navy members, the reality for Navy has been markedly different, as part of HMAS Stirling’s ongoing commitment to raising funds for children with disabilities.

Stirling’s Physical Training Instructors coordinated attendance at the Rockingham Bowls Club for the Malibu Charity Event to raise funds for various improvements at Malibu School. 

Navy members ships and shore units traded ‘jackstays’ for ‘bowling jacks’ and followed their bowls down the green cheering the ball to go port and starboard as it closed on the target.

Commanding Officer Stirling Captain Brian Delamont said that the school had been Stirling’s charity for more than 20 years and the establishment had presented a cheque to the school every year to be utilised for improvements.

“Fundraising events assist in education and independence of their students,” Captain Delamont said.

“As a special needs school for children from pre-primary to high school, the benefits in the local community have been immense with students coming from as far as Pinjarra in the south to attend,” he said. 

Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Mathew Vaisey said that the participants raised more than $1300.

Principal of Malibu School, Noelene Mason said the school had benefitted greatly from the compassionate support of the Anzac System Program Office Social Club, Stirling and the Royal Australian Navy in general. 

“The physical works to keep our grounds safe and inclusive for all students who are aged between four and 18 years is something we could not have achieved without the continued support,” Mrs Mason said.

“For the staff and families of the school to know that they are valued this deeply and that their local community is committed to supporting our amazing student’s helps everyone to know that they matter. 

“The fundraising efforts have allowed our students to have opportunities that may not have been possible without them.

“The relationship between Malibu School and the Royal Australian Navy is a rare and special friendship. 

“It has grown and strengthened over many years and without it we would not be the school that we are,” she said.

Malibu School is an education support school which caters to students with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, sensory impairments (vision and hearing), challenging behaviours and/or autistic spectrum disorders.