Irish eyes are smiling

When a young Irish couple arrived to settle in Melbourne by ship in 1956, they did not realise that the next 53 years together would be spent in far away Lismore, nor how many people would be influenced as a result of a simple twist of fate. After Bill Harris and his young bride Helen emigrated, Bill suggested they travel to Lismore because Helens uncle lived here.

Young Bill was a flashy footballer whose reputation attracted the attention of the local Goonellabah-Stars Club. As captain coach, Bill took the club to three successive premierships, in 58, 59 and 1960. As the top competition consisted of only five teams, Bill made a bold bid in 1961 to form another club, amidst some angst from various people. The club was named Lismore Richmond Rovers Soccer Club and has gone on to become one of the strongest in the region and should they win the premiership this year, they will emulate the feat of Bills team 50 years ago. Amongst many accolades given to this pioneer of local soccer are Life Membership awarded by the club that he founded and the naming of Rovers home field as the Bill Harris Field in 2003. This unassuming, gentle man of exceptional character continues to be an inspiration to those who include purpose, integrity and commitment amongst their ideals. Bills love of the game has been severely impeded by failing eyesight and a battle with prostate cancer, but with the weekly updates from his great mate, original Rovers team-mate John Gava, and 54 years of devotion with his lovely wife Helen, Bill continues to exude a spirit of vitality that will forever be at the soul of his beloved Richmond Rovers.



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