ONE of Bong Bong’s most famous faces will be honoured at this year’s races.
After the passing of her late husband Rob Ritchie, Cheryl Ritchie decided she would have a unique seat made to erect at the Bong Bong racecourse.
CheryI said she wanted to do this in his honour to show his love and dedication to the Bong Bong Picnic Race Club.
She approached the committee and requested the seat be placed on the grassed area in front of the Pavillion facing the finish line.
This was always one of Rob's favourite areas after the new pavilion was erected in 2005.
“The committee were helpful and receptive with this request and approval was quickly given. They graciously offered to help with the laying of the concrete and I thank them for that,” she said.
The seat is a one off design and incorporates Rob's interest in horses and his love of Bong Bong.
The seat is a piece of art, designed and hand made by John Wood from Wood Iron Design in Wagga Wagga NSW.
John has been working with metals since 1997.
His work has evolved over the years, as has his ever increasing fascination of forging steel (Blacksmith Artistry).
John's work and sculptures have been exhibited at selected galleries and he has undertaken site specific commissions for both the public and private sectors.
All commissions are individually designed and finished to a high quality using traditional forging and modern fabricating techniques. John has previously been granted a 12 month training visa in January 2005 to work in the United Kingdom with internationally renowned blacksmith Brian Russell.
Rob was appointed as a Director of the Bong Bong Picnic Race Club in 2003.
He was elected chairman in 2004, a position he held for the next 10 years.
In 2014, he stepped down to the vice chairman position which he held until his death in 2015.
Rob was awarded life membership in 2014 to honour his commitment to the organisation.
Rob spent many voluntary hours helping to develop the Bong Bong Picnic Races venue into a spectacular Southern Highlands property.
One of Rob's main achievements was when the club was awarded the Best Picnic Race Club Meeting in NSW. The venue is frequently used for other events throughout the year.
This year (2016) will be the first year that Rob has not be at the races since he was seven-years-old.
Rob followed in the footsteps of his late father, Harold (Sonny) Ritchie.
“I know Rob's spirit will always be at Bong Bong and I hope many will enjoy a relaxing rest on this beautiful seat, looking out on that famous racecourse with a hill in the middle,” Cheryl said.
“Rob's family, his many treasured friends and I are going to be so proud and honoured to unveil the seat after the main parade at this years picnic races on November 18th.”
The seat will arrive in Bowral on September 23.