“I saw your old mum the other day,” Allan “Jockey” Rudd would say.
It could have been said to numerous people in Goulburn and invariably, that mum wasn’t much younger than Jockey.
But the spring in his step, twinkle in his eye and cheeky sense of humour made him young at heart.
His kind words, sprinkled like stardust, gave everyone he met a sense of connection, of shared history and assurance that he cared.
Goulburn went into mourning on Saturday, waking up to the news that he had passed away the night before. He touched so many lives through his long working career and in retirement with his visits to hospitals and aged care facilities.
But as we all know, he was a familiar face around the CBD as me made his rounds, dropping in on business people for a friendly word.
Here at The Post we looked forward to his Thursday visits picking up copies of the Post Weekly to take to the hospitals, nursing homes and others. “How’s that boy of yours? Is he still in the orphanage?” he’d quip to a journalist. It lightened our day no end, as we know it did for many others.
Through it all we saw a man of quality and sound values, borne of a Christian upbringing and shaped by early family struggle. Jockey had a strong moral compass that was quietly imparted and never judgmental.
He stuck by those who fell on hard times. He visited people in jail who he’d known previously, just to show them there was hope and compassion.
Every Sunday, he’d take his usual spot at Sts Peter and Paul’s Cathedral for Mass. Then, in later years, it was out to Goulburn Lawn cemetery to place flowers on his beloved late wife, Phyliss’s grave followed by a stop at McDonalds where his charm worked wonders.
Through his quiet work he appealed to our better selves and taught us that old fashioned values were timeless. If you had him as a friend, it was for life.
On his 90th birthday he received a card signed by numerous well-wishers and with a caricature of his head sitting atop Rocky Hill. “Jockey Hill,” it stated.
He was Goulburn to the core and no cathedral would be large enough for the many wishing to farewell him. His loss is enormous. But we also count ourselves fortunate to have known this loyal, honest, funny, cheeky man who had a truckload of integrity. We love you, Jock.