'Don't take it for granted': Explosion victim back in saddle
THERE wouldn't be many people who could organise an event for 6000 people just 10 months after suffering horrific burns in a gas explosion.
But that's exactly what Scott Jones is doing.
As the secretary-manager of the Lismore Turf Club, he's heavily involved in the planning for this Thursday's Lismore Cup.
This is his sixth year organising the event and he's enjoying the challenge more than ever.
"I've got a very good crew around me," Mr Jones said.
"Most of us have been working together for years, so they've helped me out a lot with getting this year's event together."
It has been a long recovery from burns to 45 percent of his body that he suffered in a gas explosion at the club last November.
On the morning of November 23 last year, Mr Jones was severely burned after a gas cylinder at the club erupted and caught fire.
Fire and Rescue crews responded and cooled down the gas cylinder, which was leaking and had ignited when Mr Jones entered the kitchen at the racecourse.
He was transferred to Brisbane's burn unit, where he underwent lengthy treatment and rehabilitation for his injuries.
Since the explosion, Mr Jones has come to appreciate his family, life and especially his job, much more than he did before.
"It's funny, but I've definitely got a different outlook on life," he said.
"And I've even got some advice: while we don't all enjoy our jobs, don't take it for granted, both in your work and in your life."
He said he was grateful for the support of the Lismore Turf Club board since he returned to work in June after months of rehabilitation.
The past seven months have been spent catching up on work and planning the Lismore Cup.
"I've been chasing my tail, but it's been great," Mr Jones said.
And with fine weather forecast, this year's Lismore Cup is looking to be a fantastic event.
Mr Jones said pre-sale tickets had increased by about 20 percent since last year, with the Lismore Turf Club expecting around 6000 patrons for the race day.
This year's event is a Racing NSW showcase meet, which means all supporting races are worth $30,000 each, while the main race is worth $60,000.
"We've got a good roll up so far, and we're expecting a full field of 16 runners," Mr Jones said.
"It should be a great day of racing. I'm looking forward to it."
This year sees more food vendors in the back area, as well as two Kombi Kegs, which are vans which flip down into a portable bar selling craft beers.
Mr Jones said the event was nearly all set up, and that the weather has played its part.
"Unfortunately Ballina washed out, but we've been really lucky to benefit from the rain," Mr Jones said.
"The grass is looking really good. A few weeks ago it was very brown and we were having to water it, but now its greened up, so much that we might even have to mow."
He said that the weather forecast for tomorrow was looking "pretty close to perfect".
"Hopefully we can give them a great Lismore Cup," Mr Jones said.