Club Tamborine’s Inaugural Dr John Vance Memorial Day
By Sharee Young
Club Tamborine recently hosted the first official ‘Dr John Vance Memorial Day’ to celebrate John’s memory and raise funds for QLD Guide Dogs.
John and Dawn Vance moved to Tamborine Mountain in 1996 just prior to John retiring because of his sight issues. It was also at this time that John joined the Tamborine Mountain Bowls Club as he was already playing with the Blind Bowlers. John was the president of Blind Bowlers Queensland and then became the president of the Australian Blind Bowlers Association, taking the team to England in 2013 for a 10-nation competition in which Australia came second. It was clear that John touched many lives both in the bowling community and in the local community with his kindness, generosity and determination to leave a legacy. He was an active member of Club Tamborine for 22 years. Barry Chatel was John’s bowling director for two-and-a-half years and in that time, he competed in two national championships with him as well as numerous other events.
John was an active member of the guide dogs community for 23 years and an incredible advocate for the blind and low-vision community. He was elected as a guide dogs board director in August 2008 and, until recently, was also the Chair of the Client Services Liaison Committee and a member of the Volunteer Peer Support Program. He passionately advocated on issues such as disability parking access for Queenslanders and accessibility issues on the Queensland Rail network. John also assisted in the training of staff to ensure they could best help people with low or no vision. He was recognised for his enormous ongoing contribution by being awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2014 for services to the blind and vision impaired.
In November 2011, John was matched with guide dog ‘Vogue,’ who became his steadfast and loyal companion. The CEO of QLD Guide Dogs attended the event brought Vogue along. Vogue made a direct path towards Mrs Vance and their special bond brought tears to the spectators.