South Sydney are mourning the passing of former Rabbitohs player, Ray Vawdon, who passed away recently at the age of 86.
Mr Williams James Raymond Vawdon was father-in-law of Russell Fairfax, and he played four third grade games on the wing for the Rabbitohs in 1952 and 1954, scoring 2 tries. He is also acknowledged as our first mascot in a ‘rabbit’ suit when he led the Rabbitohs first grade side onto the arena in the 1952 grand final at the SCG.
This is what the ‘The Sun’ newspaper reported about this incident: South Sydney were led on the field by a mascot dressed as a rabbit, South Sydney’s emblem. Both teams were given a tremendous reception. They were played on to the arena by the St. George District Band. The crowd was amused when an onlooker placed a live rabbit over the fence on to the arena. It was chased and captured by Souths’ rabbit, third grade player Ray Vawdon.
With incredible foresight, organisational skills and dedication, this gentle man is also known as the father of touch football. He had the foresight to take a pastime and develop it into a fully-fledged sport and became the founder and first President of the NSW Touch Football Association (as it was called back then). He was also the inaugural President of the Australian Touch Association (now Touch Football Australia).
He was inducted as the first Life Member of the NSWTA and TFA in 2010.On behalf of everyone connected with the Rabbitohs, we offer our deepest and most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Ray Vawdon.