Assumption College business manager Jennifer Dean, Anthony Daniher, Edna Daniher, Ray Carroll and Terry Daniher at the official opening of the sports and community pavilion named in honour of Neale Daniher.

ASSUMPTION College Kilmore officially opened the Neale Daniher Community and Sports Pavilion at a formal gathering on Friday.

The pavilion is named in honour of admired former college student Neale Daniher, class of 1978, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2013 and has since become a prominent advocate for awareness and research into the condition.

The building features a hall of excellence, change and visitor rooms, a grandstand, umpire spaces, a multi-purpose communal area, a function centre seating 250 people, warm-up spaces, equipment storage facilities and plaques telling Mr Daniher’s story.

The opening, in front of the pavilion on the Carroll Oval, welcomed special guests, including Neale’s brother Anthony and mother Edna, who attended on his behalf as Neale was unwell. Neale watched the ceremony at home via a live stream.

Brother Peter Carroll, the provincial leader of the Marist Brothers in Australia, officially opened the pavilion, and Father Michael Elligate blessed the building.

Esnaf ‘Eddie’ Balic painted a portrait of Neale, which hangs in the Hall of Excellence.

In a speech delivered by Anthony, Neale thanked the college for the honour of naming the pavilion after him.

“I’m proud to be involved in the Assumption College Neale Daniher Sports and Community Pavilion project. I thank the college for the honour of naming the pavilion in my name,” he said.

“This space will celebrate all that is wonderful and will be a magnificent place to gather.

“I had a fine education at Assumption. I learnt a lot in the classroom, and out of the classroom.

“But I have to admit, most of my most valuable life lessons were taught on the sporting fields of Kilmore.

“I learnt about teamwork, and how everyone brings something unique. I learnt to associate with something bigger than the individual.”

College principal Kate Fogarty said the space would be one where the school community could come together and that all could benefit from.

“Neale’s courage, his tenacity, his vulnerability, his humour, his resilience, his humanity, his humility and his unwavering commitment to the common good for others are everything that we hope for our students,” she said,

“That is why we named this building in his honour – to remind our students and ourselves that, like Neale, our response to adversity is a decision we make daily, and that where we put our energy, our resources, our commitment and most importantly, where we put our precious time, matters deeply.

“This space is a significant sport and community centre for the region, a place for the community beyond Assumption to use and to benefit from. A place we [can] be proud of and a place where schools, families, community and businesses [can meet and gather] with dignity and ease”.

The Neale Daniher Community and Sports Pavilion features change rooms, physio rooms, outdoor seats for sports spectators, a Hall of Excellence and a function room overlooking the Carroll Oval.

Ms Fogarty thanked key people for their contributions, including Damien Meredith, Bernie Shinners, Peter McCormack, Fr Michael Elligate, Br Doug Walsh, Brian Taylor, Simon Costa, Ray Carroll and Greg Campitelli.

The Old Collegians Association, the college’s parents and friends, and business partners such as Danihers Facility Maintenance, DMC Group, Y2, Seymour Coaches and Kia Motors Australia were acknowledged for their contribution.

Ms Fogarty said without those people and the support of the community, the pavilion would not have come to fruition.

“I’m feeling ridiculously proud of our Assumption community today. This amazing resource represents a new chapter in Assumption’s story because it demonstrates that small communities, committed communities, loyal communities can still deliver remarkable things,” she said.

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