Vicki WARD (Eltham) (14:33): Under the lights at the Eltham Redbacks Football Club last Friday night I joined my community to remember and honour the memory of our dear friend Derek Rollins. Derek’s passing has left a hole in our community. He was a life member of the Labor Party. He was the last person to leave an event and always ready to stand up and make a difference. He loved to laugh and loved an argument – often frustratingly so – always with the determination to fight for social justice.
A small businessman, Derek gave the ALP decades of his life. He was heavily involved in the party, holding executive positions in local branches and on campaign committees. Derek brought ideas to campaign meetings and his passions to gatherings; he hosted us and regaled us. He told us clearly when he thought as a party we had got things wrong. In recent years having him at a meeting was a rare treat. He would often miss branch meetings so he could be down helping with the Redbacks. We loved his passion, his kindness, his care and his commitment to his values.
It was wonderful to see him remembered in such a special way by the Redbacks, where he was a longstanding volunteer, supporting them with his own brand of fiery Northern Irish passion. My heartfelt thanks to the Eltham Redbacks, led by president Ivan Dalla Costa, and the broader community for their support of this game and Derek’s family and friends. Derek understood that not everyone’s path was equal, and he was determined to do all he could to step in and help others. He represented the very best of us through his unwavering kindness, care and commitment to his values. We miss him, and it is through beautiful gestures like this from the Eltham Redbacks that we remember him. Vale, Derek.