IN HER NAME: Darrel Francis and his brother Athol completed the 2018 Dunga Derby for their beloved Dianne who was unable to finish the course due to failing health. Darrel will get behind the wheel of Car 24 for this year's rally in his daughter's memory.
IN HER NAME: Darrel Francis and his brother Athol completed the 2018 Dunga Derby for their beloved Dianne who was unable to finish the course due to failing health. Darrel will get behind the wheel of Car 24 for this year's rally in his daughter's memory. CONTRIBUTED

Loved local midwife, mother-of-five honoured in Dunga Derby

DARREL Francis and his family are finishing what their beloved daughter Dianne started.

It was always Dianne's wish to give back to Rally for a Cause - a local charity that helped her family financially through some of their darkest days after she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2017.

The Hervey Bay mother-of-five was determined to fundraise and ride in Car 24 Twisted Sisters in the 2018 Dunga Derby, the charities major fundraiser.

But, due to her failing health, she was only able to complete the first and last leg of the four-day rally.

She still managed to raise more than $8000 ahead of the event with the help of her team mates.

Darrel, Dianne's father, and his brother Athol took over the car and completed the rally for her.

Dianne passed away just one month later.

 

Dunga Derby car # 24 Twisted Sisters, Annemaree Nichol, Heather Crompton, Dianne Francis and Rachael Walker.
Dianne Francis (third from left) was determined to help her Twisted Sisters team mates Annemaree Nichol, Heather Crompton, and Rachael Walker give back to Rally for a Cause by taking part and fundraising for the 2018 Dunga Derby. Valerie Horton

"My daughter bought the car last year to go in it ... she had a brain tumour and she thought she was coming good but by April the tumour had doubled (in size) and she had to have brain surgery," Darrel said.

"Her team were able to get her in the car but she was only able to travel as far as Maryborough.

"She was able to get back in the car, three days later, on our return to Tiaro, travelling back to Hervey Bay for a hero's welcome."

Darrel described the support Dianne and her five young children received from the charity as "unbelievable".

"It's a feeling that is very hard to describe.

"They just blew us away with everything the Dunga Derby people did, right through her illness and even at the end they paid for her funeral which helped the family immensely.

"Dianne always wanted to give back what they gave to her but she didn't know at that time, that her time was nearly up."

To honour Dianne's wish, Darrel and her two brothers - Wayne and Rodney - will get behind the wheel of Car 24 for the 2019 Dunga Derby from August 1-4.

"This time we are taking the car out in the family name in her memory," Darrel said.

To help their fundraising efforts the team will host a Barefoot Bowls Day at the Maryborough Bowls Club on Sunday, May 26.

As the name suggests, there's no shoes to be worn on the green which is all in the name of the fun day.

No bowling experience is needed.

Athol will cook up a damper and billy tea for morning tea and guests will also receive some bowling instruction as part of the $20 entry fee.

The bowls will be followed by a barbecue dinner and mini-tombola with lots of great prizes up for grabs.

The event will start at 10am. The bowls club has kindly donated the use of the greens for the day.

Registrations are open until May 20 by phoning Darrel on 41215599, Margaret on 0409 344 099 or the Maryborough Bowls Club on 4121 3285.

The team will also sell raffle tickets at Station Square on May 18, 21, 27, 29 and June 7, 14, 28 and 29, and host a cabaret night at the bowls club on July 6.

The Fraser Coast United Lodge #19 will run a sausage sizzle on the team's behalf at Maryborough Bunnings on Sunday, June 9.

UPCOMING DUNGA DERBY EVENTS

  • May 25: Tombola with Team 16 Marleys Angels and Team 50 Hervey Bay Car Sales
  • May 25: The Dunga Dance in Maryborough with Team 37 Imagine Amazing together
  • May 26: Aladdin movie screening with Team 44 Derbydore.
  • June 2: Dunga Derby Boot BBQ at the All Abilities Park from noon.

Visit dungaderby.com.au and click on 2019 events calendar for the event details.