Stan Daunt: A ferocious gentleman
SOME people say the measure of your life is how well attended your funeral is.
When Stan 'Pud' Daunt passed away earlier this year, a virtual who's who of past and present Gympie celebrity paid their respects to one of Gympie's most talented athletes.
Everyone from ex-mayors to some of Gympie's former sporting superstars paid homage to a bloke who was as gentle a man as he was ferocious in the boxing ring.
While most knew him as Pud, I was fortunate enough to know him as Pop, and it took me a little while to work out what the small bloke who made me Vegemite sandwiches after school was all about.
I later came to realise that Pud was one of Gympie's first true cross-code athletes.
He was among the youngest players in Suburbs' history to make his A-grade debut.
A stalwart of the foundation Gympie club, Pud played for Wide Bay against the touring British in 1950 which at the time was akin to playing in the National Rugby League.
In 2008, Pud was honoured with selection in Gympie's rugby league team of the century which cemented his place as one of the the town's best ever players.
However, it was in the boxing ring that he truly made a name for himself, at least as far as I was concerned.
Trained by Archie Bradley, Pud fought professionally against some of the hardest-hitting brawlers in the south-east.
His on-canvas demeanour was in stark contrast to his quiet, almost shy personality.
To this day when people find out my last name they ask if I am related to Pud.
In my teen years, whenever I offered even the smallest amount of resistance to my parents, my father would threaten "I will get Pop over and he will knock you out.”
I wasn't able to equate the man who sat on a chair watching ABC News all day to this fighting machine my dad made him out to be.
It wasn't until a scorching hot day in November 2004 that I realised Pud was the real deal.
Aged in his mid 70s he accompanied me to Cooloola Fitness Centre where he proceeded to hit a heavy bag with such force that it began to split the seems.
As he was walking out of the gym after the session, dripping in sweat, he turned to me and said "Mate, you just have to keep those hands up.”
Believe me, I took his word for it.