The West

Bali memories at Kingsley footy club
Kingsley Football Club president Keith Pearce. Picture: John Mokrzycki/The West Australian

Keith Pearce says he and his wife Jan are among the lucky ones.

They knew their son Duane was all right before they knew there had been terrorist bombings in Bali in 2002.

Mr Pearce said they had been at a wedding and had switched off the car radio on the way home, just before the news came on.

The next morning they realised messages had been left on their phone.

"One message said 'Duane's all right' and we thought, 'why wouldn't he be'," Mr Pearce said.

When they returned the call they heard the terrible news of the bombings.

Duane had been with the Kingsley Football Club group, which had been caught up in the blast at the Sari Club.

Mr Pearce said his son suffered some cuts and burns, but escaped serious injury.

A day later Mr Pearce joined other families at the Kingsley clubrooms for a briefing.

As the scale of the tragedy emerged, he suggested the club needed a special task force to deal with it, and soon found himself on a committee.

One of the early tasks was to organise a candlelight vigil at the ground.

"We expected the club and a few outsiders to attend," he said."There was a worldwide audience of 30 million."

The club lost seven of its beloved boys in the club bombing.

The players who returned committed themselves to building a memorial, and offers of help poured in.

The new building opened in 2003 and has been a point of focus on the anniversary of the bombings ever since.

Mr Pearce maintained his involvement, eventually becoming club president, a position he has held for four years.

He said eight of the players who came home from Bali were heading back for this year's anniversary.

Keith Pearce at the club's tribute to the players. Picture: John Mokrzycki/The West Australian

The club organised a "legends" game in August to raise money to help pay for the trip.

And although there was still a strong connection to Bali, the vast majority of the club's current players had joined since the tragedy.

"So there are two different aspects of the club, and as a club we have to acknowledge that.

"We have to run it as a football club, but we have to look after Bali as a separate issue."

After it became clear that the Federal Government would help the survivors go back for the anniversary, some of the money raised at the "legends" game was added to the long-term Bali fund, he said.

"That support will be there whenever they need it," Mr Pearce said.

"It's still very raw, even 10 years later, you look in the boys' eyes and you can still see the emotion."

The West Australian

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