A vibrant yet emotional fundraising lunch for the family of the late Kyle Turner brought the Rabbitohs family together in its greatest form, raising almost $120,000 for the Trust fund set up to support the Premiership-winner’s children’s ongoing education and health needs.
Over 400 people attended the lunch event at The Juniors Kingsford on Friday 3 November, MC’ed by former Rabbitohs player and current Chief Commercial Officer, Shannon Donato, with the Rabbitohs family digging deep to support the Turner family and show them the love the Club and its Members have for Kyle.
2014 Grand Final teammates including captain John Sutton, Jason Clark, Adam Reynolds, Apisai Koroisau and Dylan Walker were joined by some of Kyle’s other former Rabbitohs teammates, current Rabbitohs players, other past players, Rabbitohs Members and supporters at the lunch, with other former teammates such as Issac Luke, David Tyrrell and Kirisome Auva’a sending in video messages for the audience to enjoy.
Teammates John Sutton, Cody Walker and Jason Clark spoke about the type of man Kyle was, whilst Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly and Head of Football Mark Ellison spoke about the legacy Kyle has left at the Rabbitohs.
There was not a dry eye in the house when video tributes were played for ‘Big Dog’, highlighting his on and off field efforts while in the red and green, including bringing a 21st Premiership to the Rabbitohs as well as making an indelible mark on the communities with which he interacted.
The live auction items raised $25,000 on the day with auctioneer Darren Brown doing a fantastic job in raising the bids for the broad range of items on offer. The raffle generated over $12,000 itself and adding in profits from ticket sales for the event, over $50,000 was raised at the event for the Trust fund.
The online auction raised over $35,000 and direct donations totaling almost $30,000, took the money raised to just below $120,000 in total.
The Rabbitohs, Family of League and Kyle’s manager Steve Gillis will manage the Trust fund which has been set up to support his three sons’ education and health expenses.
There will be more opportunities to raise money for the Trust fund into the future, with celebrations planned for the ten-year anniversary since the Rabbitohs won the 2014 NRL Premiership throughout the 2024 season.
The Rabbitohs would like to thank the following people for their support in these initial fundraising efforts, including:
- The entire Board and management of Souths Juniors including President Keith McCraw, CEO Geoff Knight, Emily Lyons and Brad Stanford for their hospitality and donations;
- Uncle Jim Simon for his amazing original painting which was donated for auction;
- Amy Hill-Trindall and Aunty Barb Simms for the donation of Amy’s three amazing paintings which will be auctioned in 2024; Shane Richardson, Greg Inglis and Steve Noyce from Wests Group for their generous donation for the live auction;
- Adrian Coates and Michael Zann from Icons of Sport for their generous donations to the online auction and their work on the live auction items;
- Dot Taaffe and Michael Lyons for their donation of a signed jersey which will be auctioned in 2024;
- Cameron Murray for his generous donation of his match-worn Australian boots and his time for the CEO, Coach and Captain lunch for the live auction;
- Blake Solly and Jason Demetriou for their time to attend the CEO, Coach and Captain lunch;
- All other donors and successful bidders to the online auction;
- Stephen Lowndes and Roxanne Moates from Family of League for their support at the event and for helping set up the Trust;
- The organising committee for this event including Shannon Donato, Alisha Parker-Elrez, Jason Clark, Markella Roditis, Tyler Garske, Georgia O’Neill, James Donato, Madeleine Fox, Jeremy Monahan, Mark Ellison, Brock Schaefer, Sunny Brar and Michaella Knight;
- Current players and former teammates of Kyle’s including Cody Walker, John Sutton, Jai Arrow, Campbell Graham, Lachlan Ilias, Adam Reynolds, Apisai Koroisau, Dylan Walker, Bryson Goodwin, Robbie Rochow and Tim Grant for their attendance at the event;
- Past Rabbitohs players Darren Brown and Michael Andrews for their efforts with the live auction and raffle draw;
- Kyle’s manager Steve Gillis for his support throughout the organisation of the event;
- The RLPA management for attending the event;
- Kyle’s partner Emma and his three beautiful sons;
- Kyle’s parents Col and Leanne, his siblings Emily and Christopher;
- Live Auction winners David Dinte, Jim Hatfield, Chad Schneider, Max Whitby, Warren Wilson, and Keith McCraw for their generosity in bidding on live auction items;
- The NRL, No Limit Boxing and Racing NSW for their donations of prizes and auction items;
- Reg Richardson, John Saunders, Craig Morgan-French and Andrew Denton for their generous online donations; and
- Everyone else who contributed to this wonderful fundraising effort, whether it be by donations, auction items, raffle tickets, attendance or staffing.
This event truly showed the Rabbitohs family at its best in the face of a terrible tragedy. Kyle will forever be missed by everyone connected to the Rabbitohs and we know that his legacy will live on through his family, particularly his three sons.