“He’s always up there”: Grandstand renamed for Andrew ‘Roy’ Symonds

Date published: 30 September 2022

The Symonds family has come together at Riverway Stadium for an intimate gathering to unveil the newly-renamed Andrew ‘Roy’ Symonds Grandstand.

Children Chloe, 10, and Will, 8, were joined by their grandmother Barbara Symonds, mother Laura Vidmar and aunt Louise Symonds at the stadium on Friday.

Chloe said the grandstand was the “perfect tribute” for her dad.

“I loved to go to the park and play with him, and then we’d come here (Riverway) and play in the nets. He loved teaching Will about cricket too, so he’d teach Will a lot and I’d throw the balls,” she said.

“Thank you so much for naming the grandstand after him. It feels like he’s going to be loved from every direction, like he’s going to be loved by everyone.”

Mrs Barbara Symonds said Andrew would be “so honoured” by the renaming.

“I know how much Andrew loved the North, but home was Townsville … and in that way I think it’s very special that Townsville has honoured him in naming the grandstand after him,” Mrs Symonds said.

“I know the loss will never go away, particularly for me, because I lost my husband two years earlier. I’d have given everything to have him standing beside me when this happened. Now I’ve lost two men in my family, and I can’t say it’s easy, but it’s lovely that things like this happen and that we can celebrate his life.

“I feel that Andrew was looked up and he did something for these young people, and hopefully his legacy will carry on in that way.”

The grandstand naming was called “unreal” by eight-year-old Will.

“I’ll obviously remember this moment because it’s been a huge shock to the world, but I’ll always remember that he’s always up there and he’s always looking down at me. I wish I got to say goodbye to him,” he said.

When asked about whether he’s planning to follow his father’s footsteps into a cricket career, he said the public would have to wait and see.

“I might start a footy career, I might start a cricket career, we’ll see how life goes.”

The Andrew ‘Roy’ Symonds Grandstand renaming was endorsed at the September Ordinary Council meeting.

Mayor Jenny Hill said it was a fitting tribute for the community-focused sports star.

“Roy was a proud North Queenslander who gave back to the Townsville community through charity and his involvement in junior sports. He was also a great friend to many people and would light up any room he was in,” Cr Hill said.

“Roy’s passing has been a tragic loss to our community, and I know his absence is felt far and wide across the country. I sincerely want to thank Roy’s wife Laura, their children and his family for their support of the proposal.”

Photograph of Chloe, Barbara and Will Symonds unveiling the new Andrew ‘Roy’ Symonds Grandstand at Riverway Stadium.
Caption: Chloe, Barbara and Will Symonds unveiled the new Andrew ‘Roy’ Symonds Grandstand at Riverway Stadium.