A SIMPLE bladder cancer check nine months ago forever changed the life of newly elected Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club president Jim McClymont (pictured).
Having suffered from vertigo (the result of middle ear damage) for the past four years, an ailing McClymont consulted doctors after returning from an overseas trip to the Chicago Hospitality Expo with Leagues Clubs Australia representatives where he struggled with balance and dizzy spells.
So dejected was Jim he offered to stand down from the Leagues Clubs Australia board.
Scans back home revealed a calcified brain tumour with doctors performing surgery the following day to relieve the pressure on Jim’s brain before inserting a programmable shunt seven days later to bypass the blockage.
Within two days of having the shunt inserted, the 71 year old McClymont had thrown away his walking stick and now has a new lease of life.
His recent election as president of Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club is a huge fillip for the former work superintendent who was employed by Ryde City Council for a record 45 years.
“It sent a clear message – don’t give up hope,” said Jim.
“From my dark days in recent years to overcoming health issues it has been a testing time but it goes to show you that when you’re down you can still beat the odds,” he revealed.
“That is why I am keen to talk and provide support to those who are struggling with their health and loss of self-esteem.”
Jim is a life member of the Ryde Eastwood Football and Leagues Clubs where he has served on the Board since 1992 and 1995 and Leagues Clubs Australia where he has been a Board member for 22 years.
He takes over the presidency reigns from club icon and pioneer Keith Aggett Ð his long time mentor – who passed away last month after 54 years involvement with the Hawks.
An Ermington native, Jim attended Ermington Public School and Macquarie Boys High and was a talented boxer in his youth.
He was a keen gymnast at Parramatta Police Boys Club before he was identified at the age of 12 by boxing trainer Claude Budd as having the agility and reflexes to take up the sport.
Jim showed promise as an amateur boxer and represented the Police Boys in demonstration bouts on the Sunday morning TV Ringside program throughout his early teens.
His pugilistic skills were put to the test and he impressed keen judges with his natural technique and raw power.
Jim represented City in boxing tournaments against Country and won his fair share of trophies and even qualified for a Golden Gloves State title bout – only to be ruled out following an industrial accident in the lead up to the big clash.
Weeks later, a determined McClymont went on to defeat the eventual Golden Gloves winner in a bout at Hornsby RSL with Australia’s best performed amateur boxer Tony Madigan lining up as referee.
Jim also played rugby with Dundas Valley and rugby league with West Ryde before coaching son Scott’s Eastwood Marist Bros teams in the Balmain Junior League.
He later served the West Ryde-Denistone JRLFC with distinction – managing successful teams coached by his great mates John Dunlea and Keith ÔBluey’ Webber and proving a fine delegate on the Balmain Junior League management committee.
In 1993, Jim joined the Ryde Eastwood Football Club and two years later was elected on to the Leagues Club board of directors where he remains today.
He remains involved with the Tigers’ Intrust Super Premiership side these days – serving as a dressing room attendant alongside Hawks’ Football Club chairman Malcolm Chapple.
“Taking on my new role as Club President is an honour indeed especially replacing my dear colleague and mentor Keith Aggett, who taught me so much as a director”, said Jim.
“We must continue to pay tribute to those who dug the well and carry on the dreams and aspirations of all of the founding directors,” he added.