The Langford family (from left) Craig, Sarah, Kathryn and Aiden were happy to meet Matt Rogers at the 'Anytime Fitness' gym's first birthday party on Saturday.
The Langford family (from left) Craig, Sarah, Kathryn and Aiden were happy to meet Matt Rogers at the 'Anytime Fitness' gym's first birthday party on Saturday. Debrah Novak

Former footy star visits Clarence Valley to help out a mate

FORMER dual international footballer Mat Rogers was in the Clarence Valley on the weekend to celebrate the first birthday of Anytime Fitness Grafton.

Rogers said he came to the Valley as a helping hand for an old friend and owner of the gym Gene Fairbanks.

"Gene and I played together for a few years as part of the Wallabies squad," Rogers said.

"He is a good friend and he asked me to attend the celebrations. It's what mates do; they look after each other."

"I am sort of between races at the moment," he said. "I really enjoy doing the events because they are hard yakka and keep you on your toes.

"My next major event planned is the Melbourne Iron Man in March next year which is a long way away. I go a bit stir crazy if I haven't got an event on the near horizon."

Rogers and his wife Chloe Maxwell are heavily involved in charity work for children suffering from autism after their son Max was diagnosed with the condition.

"The charity we run is going great," Rogers said. "It is sort of where we focus all of our attention nowadays.

"Having a son with autism really changes your way of thinking. The life we lived prior to having Max was turned upside down when he was born.

"Living with his condition woke us up to things that needed to be fixed like the lack of support for parents and caregivers.

"Someone needed to step up and do something for family who needed it and we decided we may as well give it a go. It is hard work running a charity and being involved but it was the right thing to do."



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