During the past 19 years the Matt Nixon Memorial Charity Golf Day has been a much anticipated event for keen golfers across the region and beyond.
But, more importantly the annual event has raised more than $200,000 for Great Lakes charities.
The popular one-day competition returned to the course early last month after 2020's cancellation due to COVID-19 and raised more than $23,000, a record amount since it began in 2002.
The charity event was established by Garry Nixon and a group of golfing and police officers to honour the memory of his Garry's son Matt following his death from cancer at just 28 years of age.
A serving police officer with the NSW Police Force, Matt graduated in November 1993 before being posted to Newtown and Five Dock police stations.
Two years later, and now a constable, Matt shifted to Warren, in the State's Central West until his transfer to Forster in 1999 after he was first diagnosed with the illness.
Matt was an avid sportsman, enjoyed surfing and was a member of the Cape Hawke Surf Life Saving Club, an A-grade golfer and he played first grade for Forster Tuncurry Hawks Rugby League Club.
While living in Warren Matt began training for his first ironman triathlon and competed and finished his second in 1999.
Like his father Garry, Matt became a director of the local Ironman organising committee.
Matt was an inspiration to so many and some have said he was born to be a police officer as he had a gift and intelligence for that work and was wise beyond his years.
Such was his standing in the force the then police commissioner visited him before his death.
His courage in battling the illness was astounding and indeed inspiring with his determination to persist with his police work, playing golf and volunteering in so many areas.
He was always full of energy and had a positive outlook on life.
The local area now has the highest rate in NSW of people wishing to pass in their own home which accounts for 40 per cent.- Deidre Stokes
In late 2002 Garry and Matt's mates got together for a golf day in his memory and followed up this day for a further two years.
It seemed interest was waning so Garry and his colleagues decided it was time to make the day more formal
For the first few years proceeds were donated to the Cancer Council.
But, Garry and Matt's mum, Rhonda decided monies raised should remain in the Great Lakes, distributing the funds between the Cape Hawke surf club and Great Lakes Palliative Care Support (GLPCS).
Last week Garry handed a $20,892 cheque to a grateful GLPCS president, Deidre Stokes.
The more than $150,000 the charity has received over the past 19 years has enabled it to expand services with confidence.
"The local area now has the highest rate in NSW of people wishing to pass in their own home which accounts for 40 per cent," Mrs Stokes said.
In turn, GLPCS has been able to help the two local palliative care nurses with a large pool of equipment, expensive medications and hiring, as needed of a special hospital bed. and has also assisted in the development of the oncology unit at Forster Private Hospital
"The funds raised has only been achieved through the generous support and sponsorship of so many local businesses, local clubs and sporting groups."
Garry said best aspect of donating locally was that monies stayed local.
"I think that is why we get such a good response; it is so amazing, the support from the community."
This year golfers travelled from Sydney to Woolgoolga and all points in between.
Garry has been heartened that the Nixon family's tragedy had turned into a positive for the community.
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