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Dick Caine Community Appreciation Dinner a winner


A great night was enjoyed by 300 people at an appreciation dinner held to honour local legend, Dick Caine and wife, Jenny. The dinner was a thank you to Dick for a lifetime dedicated to coaching 17 world and Olympic champions, as well as his and Jenny’s tireless fundraising over the years for a wide range of charities.

Champions who have benefited from Dick’s dedication include Michelle Ford, Susie Maroney, Janelle Elford, Wayne Shillington, Stacey Gartrell, Michellie Jones, Greg and Sian Welch, Anthony Mundine, Jeff Fenech and Kostya Tszyu.

The dinner was attended by Members of Parliament, family and friends as well as sporting greats who owed much of their success to Dick’s coaching, including:

Clarry Connors Trainer – 4 Golden Slippers
Jeff Fenech Boxing World Champion
Susie Maroney Channel Swimmer
Michael Maroney Triathlete
Phil Bates AM Mr Cycling
Gary Sutton Cycling – World Champion, Dual Olympic Gold
Brett Dutton Cycling – Junior National Champion, Olympic Bronze
Stuart Dutton Surf – Australia Open Surf Champion
Shannon Bates Winner of 100 Gold Medals representing Australia in wheelchair racing
John Holt OAM World Ironman Champion
Greg Allum OAM National Ironman Champion
Steve Warren Multiple Australian Board Champion – Hall of Fame
Nadine Ellis Australian Champion
Colin Robson Coach – Australia Surf & Pool Champion
Stacey Stone (nee Gatrell) Olympic Swimmer
Lance Thompson Rugby League
Selina Gilsenan Australian Netballer
Ken Lonnergan Olympic Boxer
Ross Payne Australian Pool & Surf Champion
Dianna Bova Australian 1500 Metre Champion
Darren Turner World Marathon Swim Champion – Hall of Fame
David O’Brien World Marathon Swim Champion – World Surf Champion
James Sonneman Pool & Surf Champion
Tom O’Keeffe Australian Surf Champion
Richard Ford World Surf Champion – Hall of Fame
Kevin Neilson Champion Swimmer
Jane Bouffler-Schwenke Australian Champion Surf Swimmer

Janelle Pallister (known also as Janelle Elford) wrote a five page letter to Dick and Jenny a couple of weeks ago. A quote from the letter:

Jenny said: “Dick showed me what I was capable of. Dick showed what it took to become a champion. He showed dedication, enthusiasm, leadership, how to work hard, how to push yourself beyond belief. How to make the unachievable become the achievable. He taught me so much about life”.

MC on the night was rugby legend, Wallaby great and former Captain, Phil Kearns AM. He interviewed many sporting greats who shared their stories as part of tributes to Dick and Jenny and it was a memorable highlight of the evening.

Adding to the evening was a personal video message from one of Australia’s most popular talkback presenters, Allan Jones, who applauded Dick for his extraordinary contribution to so many and the impact he has had on changing lives and helping people in need.

Dick has always given his time to help charity causes and has helped raise $1.7 million to buy a new radiology machine for St George Hospital and has also been actively involved in fundraising for breast cancer research”.

Dick also organised a memorial plaque to the victims of the Bali tragedy with the Bali Remembrance Day of Champions Fundraiser in December 2002.

Dick felt that the opportunity presented to him when he took on the lease to the Carss Park swimming pool was life-changing, and said that from the day he walked into the pool in 1965 he knew exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

Council’s General Manager, Gail Connolly said “Dick is a much-loved local icon. He has been an invaluable ambassador for the Kogarah community and we look forward to his continued contributions in the years ahead.”

Dick employed and mentored young people going through the juvenile justice system, and supported them when they were required to attend court. Dick applied a tough love approach, offering free membership in exchange for their honesty and respect.

Despite the fact so many people were in attendance to express their gratitude for Dick’s efforts, he said “I’m paying back the area for the way they have looked after me. I owe this area and the Council and the people of the area so much, as up until that point (taking on Carss Park Pool lease) my life was only going one way.”

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