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Image of Drawn together by a shared sense of humour and compassion

Drawn together by a shared sense of humour and compassion

Mr Charlie Pickering is the new co-Patron of Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria, alongside Mr John Landy AC, former Governor of Victoria. Mr Pickering is an Australian television presenter and comedian and currently hosts ‘The Weekly with Charlie Pickering’, a news satire television show on ABC.

Co patron of Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria, Mr John Landy said: ‘On hearing of Charlie’s appointment as co-Patron, I thought it was a perfect fit as both he and Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria President, Maurice Gleeson share a compassion for others and a great sense of humour. While Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria has enjoyed an exciting growth period over several years, the addition of Charlie - including his expertise and networks - will help develop future sport and recreation opportunities for members of our community who are blind and vision impaired”.

Here’s Charlie’s reflection on what the role means to him: ‘I was introduced to Maurice Gleeson through a work colleague. He said Maurice could be an interesting bloke to interview – he’d had a few setbacks in life but was a cheerful bloke who’d found something he loved doing. That something was Blind Sports.

I went along to a blind tennis practice session where I put on goggles that completely blocked my vision, was given a racquet and a handful of instructions and proceeded to embarrass myself swinging wildly. I was no doubt a danger to those around me, but I didn’t care. I had a ball. So did everyone I met. All of them told similar stories about how their vision impairment had made them feel disconnected from the world and how Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria had helped them to reconnect.

We spend a lot of time, money, airtime and ink on professional sports in Australia. Our sports people are held up as not only role models, but heroes as well. I was a sports mad kid. I played every sport I could – cricket, football, hockey, basketball, tennis, even golf for crying out loud! I dreamed of opening the batting for Australia and kicking the winning goal in a Grand Final. Preferably in the same year and preferably both at the MCG so my mum could be there. Succeeding in sport loomed large in my idea of what a life well-lived would look like.

But what I didn’t realise at the time is that the true value of all the sport I was playing was how much I enjoyed life while I was playing it. I made friends, felt connected to a community, breathed a whole lot of fresh air and was having fun every minute.

That’s what I felt when I played blind tennis with Maurice and his players. And it’s a big reason I’m delighted to be a patron for Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria.

When sport is fun, it brings people together... and that should be available to everyone’.

Watch Charlie’s wonderful video.