Gundagai Tigers pay tribute to Mark Jones, a much-loved community member

SADLY MISSED: Mark Jones (right), with his father John "Bronc" Jones, has been remembered as a "champion" after his death at the weekend.
SADLY MISSED: Mark Jones (right), with his father John "Bronc" Jones, has been remembered as a "champion" after his death at the weekend.

The Gundagai community is mourning the loss of Mark Jones, a man described by family and friends as a “champion”.

Mr Jones, 52, died after his car left the Gocup Road and caught fire on Sunday morning.

It is thought he had swerved to avoid a dead kangaroo on the road.

Police said emergency services were notified about 2.30am after Mr Jones did not arrive at work in time for his rostered shift.

Mr Jones was a long-time member of the Gundagai Tigers. He was a former player, club statistician, trainer and strapper.

Martin Hays, the club secretary and a cousin of Mr Jones, said the father-of-three had overcome adversity in his life.

“Mark was born deaf,” Mr Hays said.

“He faced – and overcame – this adversity with his courage. It didn’t stop him living his life.”

Mr Hays said his cousin had been on his way to work at the Tumut Woolworths supermarket, where he worked as a baker, at the time of the accident.

A butcher by trade, Mr Jones made the switch to the bakery about five years ago after the store made changes to its workforce.

“Mark was just a great family man,” Mr Hays said.

“He was a good hard worker and he did a lot for the club.

“Mark was just a champion bloke. He didn’t have an enemy in the world.

“This is just very sad.”

Mr Jones’ father John, who is known by his nickname Bronc, is also described as being a Gundagai Tigers legend. He captain-coached the side to its 1963 Group Nine premiership.

Mark Jones is survived by his wife Rachel, children Sarah, Daniel and Justin, parents Bronc (John) and Jill, and sister Jayne.

Mr Hays said the Gundagai community had begun to rally around the Jones family and would continue to provide them with support.

As news of the accident spread, the Gundagai Tigers posted a tribute to Mr Jones on the team’s Facebook page.

More than 100 people posted messages of support to the page, sharing their memories of Mr Jones, who was described as funny, kind, friendly and “one of a kind”.

Other posts echoed Mr Hays’ comments that the Gundagai community was rallying behind the Jones family.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalised.