Geoff Dawson has been named the inaugural Patron of the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club following last night’s meeting of the Board.
The decision was made following Mr Dawson’s announcement at the recent TAB Melbourne Cup that he was retiring from the SGRC Board, signalling the end of his 30-year tenure as Chairman.
“I feel it’s time to slow the pace a little,” said Mr Dawson, who celebrated his 81st birthday in July.
“In my time on the Board I’ve had the pleasure of working with many people with a deep love of greyhounds and greyhound racing, and I’m proud to call many of them my friends.
Mr Dawson joined the SGRC Board in 1979 and became Chairman in 1987 upon the retirement of his father in law, the late Henry Harrison. During Mr Dawson’s chairmanship, a number of major developments and initiatives have been implemented including the opening of Greyhound Entertainment, the construction of the kennel block, rebuild of the track and redevelopment of the Henry Harrison Grandstand.
In addition to continued improvement in infrastructure at the track, Mr Dawson has overseen the development of Sandown’s racing calendar which now features some of the sport’s most exciting and innovative racing events, including the Launching Pad, the Speed Star, and the world’s richest greyhound race, the TAB Melbourne Cup.
“The Melbourne Cup has become a real showcase of everything that is great about our sport, and I couldn’t be prouder of it. We take our responsibility for promoting the sport and the greyhound seriously, and we’ve been able to achieve some really remarkable things on and off the track.
“To be named Patron of the club is a real honour, and I look forward to continuing to serve the club.”
Incoming Chairman Mr Neil Brown was effusive in his praise for his predecessor.
“Geoff Dawson is synonymous with Sandown,” said Mr Brown.
“‘Smokey’ has an unwavering enthusiasm for the club and the sport, and much of the reason the club is in such a strong position today is due to his commitment and passion.”