State sporting stalwart from son’s perspective

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

Glen Foreman, author of The Legend from Bruce Rock, The Wally Foreman Story, will speak at Centennial Park on August 5 about his famous father, a man admired by many.

It has now been more than a decade since Wally’s death from a heart attack, and until now there has not been anything documenting the events of his life and career in the broadcasting industry.

Due for release on Saturday, the book is unique in that it is a biography written from Glen’s point of view to his daughter — Wally’s granddaughter — Charlotte.

He said he started writing the book when a student in one of his journalism lectures in 2011 approached him to say he wanted to be a journalist because of the mark his father had made in the industry. “I made a comment that, as nice as it was, there will one day be a generation of sport enthusiasts who have never heard of Wally Foreman and everything he did for the State and there was little out there to preserve his legacy,” Glen said.

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“Dad would have absolutely adored Charlotte and it’s terribly sad that she’ll never get to experience that love, so I wanted to introduce her to a man who would have loved her with all his heart, yet who she’ll never meet.”

He said that more than 3000 people attended his father’s funeral — so many it had to be held in a stadium.

“So he clearly meant something pretty special to a lot of people and it was rewarding to be able to give people the opportunity to reflect on how they felt and why,” Glen said.

He said there were two reasons he chose Albany to present his new book — one relating to his dad and one relating to himself.

“In regards to Dad, he was incredibly proud of his regional roots and never forgot them,” he said.

“The country always held a special place in his heart and, for that reason, I always intended to do something in a regional area for the book.”

This came about after Glen developed a friendship with Lockie Cameron of Paperbark Merchants during the writing of his book.

“He contacted me about 18 months ago, requesting information on the book and we corresponded briefly, but when it came time for me to begin working on the post-writing phase of getting the book out, I was wandering blind, because I’ve never done anything like self-publishing or running a business in my life before,” he said.

“The only person I had to turn to was this random retailer from Albany who had earlier kindly offered any assistance he could, and I picked his brain genuinely every day for about a month straight when I was setting everything up.”

As well as officially presenting the book to the public, the talk will celebrate and reflect on his father’s life, and give people the opportunity to share with him their memories of and thoughts on the legendary man.

Glenn Mitchell, who worked alongside Wally for many years, from the WA Institute of Sport to part-time media and then at the ABC, will also be speaking at the event.

Glen said there had already been a sense of fulfilment now he had accomplished his original goal of recording his father’s life in a way that would last forever.

“I think the impact it had on others along the way was most rewarding,” he said.

“If I use one particular friend of Dad’s as an example, he ended our interview with the words: ‘you’ve given me a chance to reflect on a very, very special man, Glen. Thank you’.”

The book goes on sale on Saturday.

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