Deakin University football supporter Chris Jennings has lost his battle with bowel cancer, aged 47.WARRNAMBOOL’S loveable larrikin Chris “Big Red” Jennings passed away this week after a long battle with cancer.
Nanjing Night Net

The 47-year-old filled a variety of roles at his beloved Deakin University Football Netball Club during the past two decades, from cooking dinners to serving on the committee.

He was best known around the league for his work as the football timekeeper, filling the role since 1997.

Mr Jennings’ dedication led the club to name the timekeeper’s box after him, was a life member at Deakin, and won a Warrnambool and District league volunteer of the year award.

His commitment to the club was remarkable, given he had been having regular intense chemotherapy sessions since being diagnosed with bowel cancer in June 2010.

“They took away just over a foot of my lower bowel and they gave me a colostomy pouch,” Mr Jennings told The Standard in August last year.

“I’ve been into hospital for 55 days in the last year. It all gets a bit tiring, but there are other people that are worse off than me.”

Many of his friends took to his Facebook wall yesterday to post messages, remembering him as a man of generous spirit, who was well known for his practical jokes, his laugh and sense of humour.

One mate posted a photo of Mr Jennings handing out lollies to Sharks footballers during a three-quarter-time break — something he was renowned for doing.

“Big Red” first came to Deakin University in 1983 to do a part-time business studies course and seemingly never left.

It was reported that Mr Jennings took 19 years to complete his course, having spent more time supporting and volunteering for his beloved Sharks than actually studying.

When he finally graduated, Mr Jennings not only received his certificate wearing a Sharks guernsey under his robe, but even performed the legendary Deakin Uni victory dance — the Shark Shuffle — on stage at the graduation ceremony.

A service will be held at his spiritual home — the Deakin oval, aka The Pond — at 2pm on Thursday.

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