BACK IN THE SADLE: Lismore Turf Club secretary Scott Jones holds the 2017 Lismore Cup with with Council's Events Officer Leanne Clark. Mr Jones who was injured in a gas explosion last year is keen to return to his job and is looking forward to the 2018 event.
BACK IN THE SADLE: Lismore Turf Club secretary Scott Jones holds the 2017 Lismore Cup with with Council's Events Officer Leanne Clark. Mr Jones who was injured in a gas explosion last year is keen to return to his job and is looking forward to the 2018 event. Samantha Poate

Gas explosion victim: 'I had no idea it would be so hard'

"I HAD no idea it would be so hard.”

Lismore Turf Club secretary Scott Jones has spoken frankly about his recovery after the devastating explosion last November at the Lismore Turf Club where he suffered burns to 45 per cent of his body.

Mr Jones was at the Lismore Council meeting on Tuesday night to support the turf club chairman Mark Oaten in the club's bid to have a half-day public holiday declared for the 2018 Lismore Cup in September.

The request was successful.

Outside the council meeting room, Mr Jones who was clad in burns pressure garments under his t-shirt and shorts, spoke about getting back in the saddle at the the turf club .

"I had no idea it (recovery) would be so tough and I'm aiming for May or June,” he said.

"The OTs (occupational therapists) have said this is a realistic ambition, it's certainly harder than what I thought it was going to be.”

Mr Jones said he initially thought he would return to his role sooner.

"I remember talking to Mark when I got into the burns unit, and said I'd be back in January or February, I was just out of the ICU and I had no idea how bad it was.”

Gaining a complete recovery is a full-time job, Mr Jones said.

"I thought it (recovery) would be quick but I'm busier now with physio and the gym than I was when i was working,” he said.

"I'll be coming back for three days then five days and then in my circumstances when I go out on the track for some set outside jobs I'll have to get some hats.”

Mr Jones said the the Lismore Turf Club, which celebrates its 50 year anniversary in 2018, has been incredibly supportive.

"I'm very grateful to the turf club,” he said.

"The guys will be flexible on what I can and can't do in the early stages as I have a little bit of a sight problem.”

Mr Jones said he felt proud of the work the the turf club did to make Lismore Cup Day a safe and enjoyable event at the racecourse.

"I feel the community might have a lack of knowledge on our event since I have been there but in the past six years I have tried to take the focus away from drinking and gambling on cup day and make it more social,” he said.

"We have had no dramas police-wise since I have been there and we are getting a bigger crowd, but it's due to the feel of the day which we have worked hard on getting - it's so different now, our numbers have doubled but our alcohol numbers have not.”

Mr Oaten said the Lismore Cup is broadcast internationally on Sky Racing.

"Last year was a really great event, it was our most successful cup and it outs the focus on Lismore” he said.

"Realistically the viability of our club rests on the Lismore Cup and our other 11 meetings.”

The Lismore Turf Club is running a fundraising luncheon for Mr Jones on Sunday, March 18.



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