27 April 2023

Charity golf day organised in honour of former police officer

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Chief Inspector Peter McLay died at home after a 12-month battle with brain cancer. Photo: Supplied.

Riverina Police District is set to host a charity golf day in honour of former Chief Inspector Peter John McLay, who died battling brain cancer.

The Peter McLay Charity Golf Day will be held on Friday, 2 June, at the Wagga Wagga Country Club.

All proceeds raised on the day and online fundraising will go towards the Mark Hughes Foundation.

Charity day organiser and Riverina Police District Sergeant Nigel Turney said to honour Inspector McLay, some of the officers decided to organise the charity golf day as “a lot of people were impacted by his death”.

Inspector McLay, 56, was the second officer within the Riverina Police District to have been diagnosed with brain cancer in the past three years and he died on New Year’s Day this year.

“It was unfortunate for Pete, he got the all-clear after surgery and months of treatment and then it [cancer] came back quite aggressively and he passed away in a matter of months,” Sgt Turney said.

“He was a golfer and I played a charity match with him a couple of months before he was diagnosed.

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“We thought to strike while the iron is hot and get something together to help out the Mark Hughes Foundation with their brain cancer research centres.”

The charity day will involve 124 players, four per team, and two teams at each hole in an Ambrose-style competition.

The day will also include novelty events with an AFL ball getting kicked onto the green.

“We’ve tried to line up a challenge against a professional … driving off the tee and trying to outdrive the professional,” Sgt Turney said.

“We’ll also have a normal golf game and auctions afterwards.

“The aim is to raise as much money as we can to do something positive in this space around brain cancer.”

Insp McLay’s wife will also play on the day, and his two sons, brother and friends will attend.

young man

Insp McLay dedicated his life to serving and protecting the community and was well known for representing Australia in cricket in his younger days. Photo: Supplied.

Since Insp McLay was an avid Essendon AFL supporter, a signed jersey and a limited-edition print from Kevin Sheedy when he was the coach will be up for auction.

The Wallabies are also putting forward a signed jersey, with up to 40 names of past players, which will also be up for auction on the day.

Sgt Turney said his long-time friend was a ”true gent” committed to community service as a policeman and a retrained firefighter with Fire and Rescue NSW.

“He was a Wagga boy, a very good sportsperson, especially in cricket, and he was forced to retire,” Sgt Turney said.

“Pete wanted to do 40 years but he only got to the 35 mark and he moved down to Melbourne to be with his sons.

“He was planning to travel around Australia with his family and friends and unfortunately that didn’t eventuate.”

Sgt Turney shared a 17-year friendship with his former colleague.

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“We were promoted at the same time as a sergeant and he went ahead into the senior management team process and won his position at Wagga,” Sgt Turney said.

“I considered him as a friend but he was also a good supervisor who respected your opinions and was capable of having conversations about anything.”

Sgt Turney said he had shared a special bond with Insp McLay, with both of them working at three of the same police stations: Newcastle, Queanbeyan and Wagga.

“I’m not quite sure whether I followed him or he followed me at various points, but we didn’t cross paths until we came here when we got our promotions,” he said.

Sgt Turney said his friend had always been by his side during tough moments.

“In 2009, I was affected by the OC (Oleoresin capsicum) spray and couldn’t see anything … I was caught in the middle of the brawl and he pulled me out of the situation,” he said.

“I became ill in 2018 and spent some time in the ICU and he was one of the first people up there.”

Those who cannot attend the charity golf day and wish to donate and/or purchase the event polo shirt and the stubby holder can do so via the following Special Occasion GoFundMe page.

The Peter McLay Charity Golf Day will be held on Friday, 2 June, at the Wagga Wagga Country Club.

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