Sports legends and the community support Royce’s Big Walk and fundraising events


Some of rugby league’s biggest names, Sydney’s Goolagong communities and big business have joined the campaign of Penrith Panthers favorite all-time player Royce Simmons to support dementia research and the league of rugby in the bush.

Both will be the recipients of Royce’s Big Walk, a 300km trek by the former Panthers skipper and Australian Test prostitute, when it begins on May 17. event in his hometown of Gooloogong are included in the itinerary.

Many of footy’s biggest names will join “Simmo” on walks or fundraisers, including former Australia captain Brad Fittler, Queensland greats Allan Langer and Gene Miles, former Panthers teammate and four-time first-team coach Minister Tim Sheens, Tigers legends Paul Sironen, Steve Roach and Garry Jack (Simmons’ 1986 Kangaroo touring companions) plus Simmons’ other Grand Final winning heroes Fittler, John Cartwright, Barry Walker, Steve Carter, Joe Vitanza, Paul Smith and Paul Dunn.

Also joining Simmo in his campaign are fellow local Andrew Farrar and fellow Bulldogs great Chris Mortimer and Greg Brentnall, Panthers legend and premiership-winning captain Craig Gower and teammate Martin Lang, Wests Tigers great Robbie Farah and Chris Lawrence who Simmons while at the Tigers, Bulldogs ‘top dog’ Terry Lamb, UK international stalwart James Graham and others.

A special partner on the road will be fellow local Kurt Fearnley, the two-time Paralympic gold medalist who grew up in Carcoar.

Most will take turns taking on special guest speakers at a series of receptions being held in Canowindra, Cowra, Blayney, Bathurst, Lithgow and Katoomba during Simmons’ 11-day walk. These and other events were Royce’s idea so that he could help raise much needed funds for the football clubs in the area where he played junior football.

It’s a rare opportunity for sports fans in the region to mingle and listen to historical memories and anecdotes from so many big names in the sport.

Simmons revealed in January that he had been told last year that he had dementia (Alzheimer’s disease) at the age of 61 and that shortly after he organized the walk to raise funds and raising awareness about dementia. It will channel funds to Dementia Australia to conduct much-needed research.

“The support has been incredible,” Simmons said. “From people on the street to former teammates and friends in the game…everywhere.

“When I walk around (from Penrith to the foot of the Blue Mountains during the daily training walks) people are shouting encouragement, which is appreciated.

“During the Panthers game at Bathurst (the Round 3 clash with Newcastle at Carrington Park) I had to walk onto the pitch to do an interview and it took me forever because people wanted to chat and ask how they could help and give their Support.

“I hope many will take part in the events we have planned along the route as these funds will go towards junior rugby league. good nights, every dollar raised will go to a good cause.

Ultra-marathon endeavors are nothing new for Royce Simmons, who walked the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea in 2018 for Panthers On The Prowl and ran five marathons in five days in West Yorkshire in 1992 for raising funds for Hull FC, the club that he was. coaching at the time. Still, he says the upcoming trek is the most important and the deepest cause.

“Besides being more personal because of my dementia situation, it’s most important because of the impact of the disease on society, and it’s only going to get worse,” he said. .

“Only those affected, or those close to those affected, truly understand the effect dementia has on families. It is the second biggest killer in Australia and the biggest for women.

The march will end at Bluebet Stadium just before the Panthers-Cowboys clash kicks off on Friday May 27 when Royce and his family take a tour of the playing field, to a predicted emotional standing ovation.

The walk and fundraiser schedule is listed below, along with details on how to purchase tickets.

For more information and background, how to donate and follow event details, go to


Sunday May 15

Sports dinner at the CANOWINDRA SERVICES CLUB – 1 p.m.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Craig Gower, Tony Butterfield, Paul Dunn

TICKETS: $65. Go to the Canowindra Tigers Facebook page

Monday May 16

Barefoot Petanque at Gooloogong Bowls Club – 6pm

SPECIAL GUESTS: Chris Mortimer, Greg Brentnall

tuesday may 17

WALK, DAY 1 – Gooloogong to Cowra, 38km

EVENT: 4:00 p.m. Open Practice Session, Cowra Magpies, at Sid Kallas Oval.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Royce Simmons, Brad Fittler and Andrew Farrar arriving at 5 p.m.

EVENT: Sports dinner, COWRA BOWLING CLUB, 7 p.m.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Brad Fittler and Andrew Farrar

TICKETS: $110 single tickets, $800 for a table of eight – includes a 3-course meal and full drink package. Tickets available at the club.

Wednesday May 18

WALK, DAY 2 – Cowra to Woodstock, 20km

EVENT: Carcoar Central Stock Exchange, 8:45 a.m.

GUEST WALKERS: Kurt Fearnley, Terry Lamb, Luke Goodwin, Paul Langmack

Thursday May 19

WALK, DAY 3 – Woodstock to Carcoar, 34.8 km

GUEST WALKERS: Paul Sironen, Steve Roach

Friday May 20

WALK, DAY 4 – Carcoar to Mount Fitzgerald, 27.7 km


SPECIAL GUESTS: Allan Langer, John Cartwright, Martin Lang, Barry Walker

TICKETS: $50, available from The Royal Hotel (Blayney) 02 6368 2210

Saturday May 21

WALK, DAY 5 – Mount Fitzgerald to Bathurst, 24.5 km

EVENT: Sportsmen’s Dinner, BATHURST PANTHERS, 7 p.m.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Allan Langer, John Cartwright, Martin Lang, Barry Walker

TICKETS: TBA, keep checking with website

Sunday May 22

WALK, DAY 6 – Bathurst to Brewongle, 17km

GUEST WALKERS: Steve Carter, Paul Smith, Joe Vitanza

EVENT: 9:00 a.m. – Bathurst Community Walk and BBQ

EVENT: Noon: Men of League golf day – lunch (12 p.m.-1 p.m.) followed by the 9-hole Ambrose, shotgun tee off at 1 p.m.,


SPECIAL GUESTS: TBA. Royce Simmons arriving at 4 p.m. to meet the guests

RESERVATIONS: Bathurst Golf Club 02 6331 1379 or Royce George (Men of League.) 0408 635011

Monday May 23

WALK, DAY 7 – Brewongle to Sodwalls, 33km

GUEST WALKERS: Garry Jack, Nigel Plum

tuesday 24 may

WALK, DAY 8 – Sodwalls to Browns Gap (Hartley), 29km

EVENT: Sports dinner, LITHGOW WORKERS CLUB, 7 p.m.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Neil Paine, Chris Lawrence, Tim Sheens, Robbie Farah, Chris Law

TICKETS: $50 (2-course meal). TBA sales details, keep checking with website.

Wednesday May 25

WALK, DAY 9 – Browns Gap to Katoomba, 29km

EVENT: Sports dinner, KATOOMBA RSL, 7 p.m.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Tim Sheens, John Skandalis, Gene Miles, Paul ‘Nobby’ Clarke

TICKETS: $95 each OR table of 10 for $850 (2-course dinner including beer, wine and soft drinks). Tickets available at: and at the club box office (on sale from April 18)

Thursday May 26

WALK, DAY 10 – Katoomba to Faulconbridge, 29km

GUEST WALKERS: James Graham, Gene Miles

Friday May 27

WALK, DAY 11 – Faulconbridge to Bluebet Stadium, Penrith, 19km

EVENT: Penrith Panthers v North Queensland Cowboys, NRL Rd 12


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