When AFL Foundation CEO, Derek Linsell (2005-2008) suggested that AFL umpires were in a privileged position to develop meaningful community links he had no idea that his work would have such long term impact on both the umpires and those with who the umpires worked.
Donlon first met Murray in 2010 as part of the Down Syndrome Program that saw umpires linked with Downs families to give their child an AFL match day experience. Life long connections were made as contact between the parties was encouraged.
Murray lives in Mortlake, a small country community outside Warrnambool, in south-west country Victoria. He is a passionate Collingwood supporter but a fanatical supporter of umpires. “Chris is going through a tough time at the moment and is in hospital receiving on-going treatment,” explained Donlon over the weekend.
Murray was very pleasantly surprised last week when a delivery arrived from Melbourne, organised by Donlon that included a get well card signed by all of the AFL umpires and some umpiring gear donated by the umpiring department.
Murray’s mother, Margaret said, “The package cheered Chris up no end. He can’t wait to get back to Melbourne and get to see the ‘Pies and his umpire mates.”