Richmond Cricket Club has established a new trophy after the passing of one of its most loyal and enthusiastic supporters.
Club player and scorer and long-time Hawkesbury Gazette production staffer Lonnie Bishop passed away on Sunday, April 11 at Lithgow.
At his Lithgow funeral on April 22, Richmond Cricket Club's Michael Johnson announced the trophy, to be called the Lonnie Bishop Club Person of the Year for those whose hard work for the club is mostly done behind the scenes.
Lonnie Clinton Bishop was born in Mudgee to parents Chuck and Maureen, the middle of three boys. After a stint in Melbourne, the family moved to Lithgow in 1968 and Lonnie went to Cooerwull Primary School. He was a sports nut from an early age, playing in the football, cricket and basketball teams.
He had a wonderful childhood, frequently visiting his many cousins in Mudgee. Family was the only thing more important to him than sport. He was gifted at maths, and when at high school represented Lithgow in a variety of sports. He also studied hard to get his Rugby League referee certificate, becoming the youngest certified ref in NSW at age 13.
After school he went to Macquarie University to become a maths teacher. However that career wasn't to be and after a short stint as a surveyor's assistant at Lithgow, he moved to Richmond where he got into the printing game, soon landing a job at the Hawkesbury Gazette working under Lee Deacon, scanning photos and building ads.
These were happy times for Lonnie, as the Gazette was a form of family, and he worked there for almost 15 years out of the 27 he spent at Richmond. He shared a flat for some years with sports editor Paul Woodhams and joined the Richmond Inn Social Golf Club and RG McGee's Social Golf Club, at both of which he carried out the crucial job of handicapper - collating all the scores and working out who won.
He also joined Richmond Cricket Club. With other Gazette staff in his team, he played in 7th Grade and was in the 9th Grade premiers side in 2001-2. His jobs were wicketkeeper and scorer and he helped the club wherever he could. He also volunteered with the Hawkesbury Junior Rugby League, taking statistics and helping with the junior games. He was a rabid Roosters fan.
His work colleagues joked he should have got frequent flyer points at Richmond's Big Red Hen, and at Richmond Inn, where he was known to have a beer or two. He was a master of the Rubik's cube, Scrabble, Sudoku and crosswords, and loved horror movies and Stephen King novels.
His last job was at a pawnbroker business which he loved as well, but failing health finally put an end to that. He moved back to Lithgow, taking a flat in town to be near his family only a month before he died of pulmonary fibrosis.
His funeral attracted more than 100 mourners, many wearing Roosters jerseys and scarves, followed by a wake at Club Lithgow.