Matthew Locke MG charity weekend graced by Australia's Governor General

Captain on captain in the Army game last year

Captain on captain in the Army game last year

Bellingen's annual charity weekend on March 6-8 in honour of Sgt Matthew Locke MG will be a vice-regal occasion.

Among the special guests will be Australia's Governor General, David Hurley and his wife Linda Hurley.

It will be their seventh time attending the event, but their first since moving from Government House in Sydney to Yarralumla in Canberra.

Matthew Locke, who was born in Bellingen, was a distinguished Australian soldier who served in the Special Air Service Regiment in Afghanistan.

In 2006 he was awarded the Medal for Gallantry - the third highest award in the Australian honours system - after he and another SAS soldier, greatly outnumbered by the enemy, dodged volleys of gunfire to neutralise an attack on an SAS observation post.

His distinguished military career was cut short the following year when he was shot in the chest by Taliban fighters during an operation to drive them out of the Chora Valley, a Taliban stronghold 15 km from the Australian base at Tarin Kowt.

Since his death, his family have organised a rugby league charity match every year between the Magpies and the Army team in memory of him.

His sister Debbie Locke also established The Grub Club, a not-for-profit organisation set up to help children in war-torn areas such as Afghanistan and Timor Leste to obtain an education by supplying resources like books, paper, pens and pencils.

Last year the charity weekend raised $20,000 which was distributed between Soldier On, The Grub Club and local rugby league.

"We have been able to support a number of organisations including Soldier On, Mates4mates, Legacy, The Grub Club and a range of local sporting organisations and over the past eleven years we have donated nearly $155,000 to these organisations," Debbie said.

This year, the weekend is raising funds for Soldier On, the Grub Club and Tyringham RFS.

For the first time in the events 12-year history, the opening round of the ADF Inter-Services matches will be played as supporting games to the Army Thunder vs Bellingen Magpies headline match.

This means there will be Army, Navy and Air Force men and women on the field on Saturday, March 7.

"These will be full-on tackle games between the three services, men and women," Debbie said.

"It's an incredible coup for us to host this opening round."

Line-up of events 

Friday March 6 - Invitational 4 Person Ambrose Golf tournament and Welcome to Bellingen at the Bellingen Golf Club. An 8.15am breakfast will be followed by a 9am shotgun start.

Saturday March 7 - Sgt. Matthew Locke MG Charity Match, Gates open 11am. Main game around 6pm. Bellingen Magpies vs. Army Thunder.

Sunday March 8 - The Army Band and Coffs Harbour Regional Brass Band performing at Coffs C.ex 11am to 1pm with guests of honour his Excellency Governor General and Mrs Hurley.