HOMECOMING: William ‘Bill’ Nancarrow explains how good it feels to be back in his hometown for the Australia Day Awards. Picture: Sam Turner.
HOMECOMING: William ‘Bill’ Nancarrow explains how good it feels to be back in his hometown for the Australia Day Awards. Picture: Sam Turner.

Paralympic coach’s ‘emotional’ homecoming

IT WAS quite emotional for Paralympic powerlifting coach William ‘Bill’ Nancarrow to write a speech for his homecoming.

Born and bred in Monto, Mr Nancarrow had not seen some of the town’s residents for nearly 40 years, and said his visit put a “big glow on his heart”.

To have an Australian ambassador visit their hometown to present awards seemed fitting.

But it nearly didn’t eventuate for Mr Nancarrow.

“Originally I was going to Biggenden, then they had a change since I was a local Monto boy,” he said.

“The possibility of me coming here meant they made the change.

“I didn’t find out until last Thursday (January 23).”

Mr Nancarrow’s life is a testament to perseverance and ambition, which can be seen through his mountain of achievements, all in the face of adversity.

After leaving Monto in the 1980s, Mr Nancarrow became involved in powerlifting in 2000, following a motorcycle accident in Townsville.

In 2002 he became involved with the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association in Brisbane, and attended several state, national and international competitions.

He took his sport to the next level by coaching “some of the toughest Australian athletes you will ever meet”.

His coaching prowess led to his involvement in the Beijing Paralympics and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Mr Nancarrow has been awarded the Col Marsh Volunteer of the Year honour, and was named Coach of the Year in 2017.

In his opening address in Monto on Australia Day, he discussed his pride, and admiration to see those with disabilities reach the pinnacles of their sport.

William ‘Bill’ Nancarrow speaks at Monto's Australia Day ceremony. Picture: Sam Turner.
William ‘Bill’ Nancarrow speaks at Monto's Australia Day ceremony. Picture: Sam Turner.

“The words ‘you can’t’ or ‘should not’ isn’t an option with these athletes,” he told the crowd.

“I’ve been fortunate to travel the world and visit places in Europe, Asia, and Arabic countries, with numerous athletes, and different squads representing Australia.”

Mr Nancarrow immersed himself in other cultures, and through that, was able to appreciate Australia even more.

“It’s such an honour to be away overseas, wearing the green and gold, but the part I love is coming home,” he said.

“One of the best feelings is when I’m flying home and we come across the Australian border around the NT or Far North Queensland, and you look out the window and see Australia, and knowing in my heart, that I’m home, like today.”

Visibly emotional, Mr Nancarrow’s words resonated with the crowd of spectators.

In a conversation with The Times, Mr Nancarrow said he believed being born in Monto was one of the greatest advantages you could be given in the world.

“You come from a lovely small community, and you’ve got all these lovely people who help and support you, and guide you in life,” he said.

“You’ve got that opportunity to go onto bigger and better things, and that’s the way I view it.”

Following the ceremony, Mr Nancarrow planned to visit Ridgehaven Retirement Complex, and Monto Hospital.

The palliative care room in the hospital is named after his mother, Dorothy “Nan” Nancarrow.

“My mum worked up there for 30-odd years, she was a bit of a matriarch in Monto,” he said.

“Coming home and getting to the opportunity to go to Ridgehaven and the hospital, especially with mum working there … it’s part of coming back.”


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