Seven-year-old Flynn Thorne, of the Sunshine Coast has never met Wayne Bennett or Allan ‘Alfie’ Langer. In fact, he has never seen either of them in the flesh.
But Flynn, whose rugby-league associated family has recently received wellbeing benefits from Men of League, is in awe of both men. They are his new-found heroes.
This worship started as a result of Sunshine Coast wellbeing officer Mick Legg paying a visit to Flynn, and his mum Eve. Eve’s husband and Flynn’s dad Matt recently passed away and the family was doing it tough – both financially and medically.
The ever-smiling Flynn has medical issue and, as a result, is sometimes bullied at school. On his visit, Mick discovered that Matt, who played rugby league on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane, greatly admired Wayne Bennett and had bought and read two of his books. Eve told Mick that the positive messages from Wayne in the books had made a major impact on her husband, through his attitude towards people and on life in general.
Mick subsequently left the Thorne household armed with the books, and the mission to have them signed for Flynn. And it was Alfie, a generous supporter of the Sunshine Coast committee, who offered to get the job done.
The first few nights after the books were returned, Flynn slept with them, just as Alfie had slept with a football when he was a kid. His goal now is to attend a Broncos home game this upcoming season.
But the thrill of receiving the signed books, and knowing that legends Bennett and Langer had touched them, has been heightened by the fact his photo and story are about to appear in a magazine.
“This is Flynn’s very own ‘wow’ factor,” said his mum Eve.
“The fact that these famous people – who his dad spoke about so often – have shown an interest in Flynn has made him so proud.
“He can sense the care that has been shown by Wayne and Alfie, and the people from the Men of League Foundation.”
Eve revealed that for the first five years of Flynn’s life, half his time had been spent in hospital. While he is now better adjusted to deal with his medical issue, he will never be able to play a physically-demanding sport such as rugby league.
“But with his late dad having footy on the TV from Thursday to Monday, and his grandmother Beth knowing absolutely everything about the game, he has not been able to escape the hype,” she said.
“Now that he has something tangible to connect with the game, and to the Broncos, I can sense the change in him. And he has told everyone he knows that his photo will be appearing in the Men of League Foundation magazine.”
Men of League Foundation Queensland Wellbeing is proudly sponsored by BMD Group.