Many of those who give up their time for the good of the game all over the country were recognised by New Zealand Football earlier this month and there were some heart-warming stories among them.
As part of Volunteering New Zealand’s National Volunteering Week, New Zealand Football provided $3,500 in MTA gift vouchers to its seven federations and these were then handed out to worthy recipients in each region.
Over 70 people received a token of appreciation for their efforts and, based on the tributes included as part of their nominations, it is clear the game in this country has much to thank them for.
All are greatly deserving of our gratitude but below are a selection of the most inspirational nominations from all over the country.
Northern Football Federation
Deborah Farmer (North Shore United)
Deborah is one of our extraordinary volunteers. How she has time to do extra volunteer work amazes me each and every day. Deborah is a mum of three children, she has three jobs and works 50 hours a week. She also hosts overseas students in her home. On top of this, Deborah is the manager for her daughter’s U-17 team AND is the convenor for the U-12 age group of North Shore United, which involves communicating to five other team managers/coaches each week. This amazing person truly deserves recognition for the selfless work she gives to our club and NFF.
Other recipients: Graham Routledge (Waitakere City), Bruce Elliot (Waitakere City), Kym Double (Te Atatu), Liz Chambers (North Shore United), Dave Crombie (Forrest Hill Milford United), Sarah Morgan-Caswell (Paihia), Alex Graham (Kaikohe), Corey (Possum) Simmons (Kerikeri), Matt Rowe (Mangawhai)
Auckland Football Federation
Kathryn Elliott (Clendon United)
Kathryn is now in her second term as president and was honoured by the club as a life member. Kathryn volunteers nearly all of her spare time for the club. It always seems that Kathryn has something to attend for Clendon United each day. This is made more surprising by the fact Kathryn doesn’t play and that both of her sons have moved on. I’m the current treasurer for Clendon and Kathryn is always there to support me. Kathryn shows that same support to all the committee and every member of the club. We need people like this in Clendon and in football clubs in general.
Other recipients: Alan Topham (Fencibles United), Munasheel Chandra (South Auckland Rangers), Damien Cameron (Tuakau), Roger Haynes (Fencibles United), Julie Strom (Fencibles United), Dan Amosa (South Auckland Rangers), Erina Aperahama-Henare (Lynn-Avon United), Malcolm Martin (Fencibles United), Wendy Nicholas (Fencibles United)
WaiBOP Football Federation
Andrea Timings (Melville United)
Andrea joined Melville as a 21-year-old player in 1990 and was elected to the club’s committee the following year. Apart from brief leave due to child birth etc, over the past 27 years Andrea has been a pillar of the club’s administrative functions. She has been secretary (for more than 12 years), treasurer, bar manager, vice-president, acting president and generally been at the core of just about everything in the life of the club. She is the club’s communications hub, the organiser, the go-to person, the form-filler, team manager, coach and still a player while still having to juggle a fulltime job, civil engineering studies, run a household and fulfil duties as a mother of three. Andrea is currently club secretary and coach of the Melville women’s Epic team. She has been named Melville’s club member of the year five times and personality of the year six times. She was named a Melville life member about 15 years ago. She represented WaiBOP as a senior player in 2001 and in 2005 was the WaiBOP women’s team manager. Within the wider code, she is a staunch and often blunt-speaking advocate for women’s football. Andrea is a real treasure and is such an asset to our club and community. She is one of those people who is widely respected for the institutional knowledge she has, the balance and perspective she brings to our committee meetings and has great personality and character.
Other recipients: Kim Lander (Hamilton Wanderers), Phil and Kelsey Fletcher (Hamilton Wanderers), Wendy Sharpe (Katikati), Shaun Kapua (Ngongotaha), Kevin Sutcliffe (Te Aroha Cobras), Andrew Hansford (Morrinsville), Carwyn Evans (Whakatane Town), Brent Armitage (Blue Rovers), Tim Babbage (Northern United)
Central Football Federation
Michael and Vera Finch (Peringa United)
Michael and Vera Finch are an amazing young couple who volunteer their time to set up our junior hub fields, man the sausage sizzle, and cook, clean and work the club bar for our senior matches every afternoon. Between Michael (Cheesy) and Vera, they total over 30 hours of volunteering time dedicated to running our club for the 250 children involved, 60 senior men’s and women’s players and the visiting juniors and senior players each week. Multiply 30 hours x 20 weeks (minimum) and that equals over 600 hours of service to the community. And that doesn’t include the summer 5-a-side league they both volunteer to run!
Other recipients: Stuart Amer (Napier South), Justin Andrews (Port Hill), Bob Allen (Napier City Rovers), Kerianne Higgs (Breakers Riverside Red Sox Juniors), Rob Easton (Levin), Ray Gibson (Dannevirke), Sam Andrews-Paul (Wairarapa College), Jose Reader (Kaponga), Darren Larkins (Gisborne Boys’ High School)
Capital Football Federation
Glenda Schmidt (Waterside Karori)
Glenda has been in the engine room of our club for many years. Waterside Karori simply wouldn’t function without her performing many important and unseen tasks every week for the club: new kit procurement, badging and labelling all kit, food for visiting teams on game day, operating the bar on game day, managing game day set up of the ground, helping with first team budget and contracts. Glenda does all of this every week and we recognise her constantly in our after-match speeches which always get a massive clap. There’s a reason for that – the players love her! Not just because she does all these jobs but because she goes the extra mile for players all the time. For example, on a cold day at Karori Park a player was without his rain jacket due to a broken zip. Glenda took the jacket home, repaired the zip and had it back in the hands of the player before the warm-up. At the start of the season Glenda was helping settle four players into a flat. After she had finished those players had all the bedding, cleaning and cooking products they would need. There are so many things Glenda does for the club every week that we will never know but we do appreciate that we have a caring and dedicated person who is passionate about making her contribution to the community through her work with the club.
Other recipients: Rachel Gawith (Greytown), Glenda Schmidt (Waterside Karori), Gary Fisher (Waterside Karori), Tania Rook (Stop Out), Ange Pope (Douglas Villa), Paul Martin (Petone), Simon Bayliss (North Wellington), Brendan Hoffman (Stokes Valley), Anthony Mumby (Wellington United), Ian Barrs (Martinborough)
Mainland Football Federation
David Withers (Halswell United)
David is in his early 70s and has been a member of Halswell United for 20 years. Throughout this time, he has played football, refereed games, been on the executive committee, been treasurer and is a life member of the club. Despite Dave’s age, he is at the Halswell clubrooms and grounds almost every day volunteering his time. Dave is our facilities manager, so looks after all our clubroom maintenance and has been called out to fix problems without any complaints. Being very diplomatic and easy to talk to, he is also on our newly-formed disciplinary committee. Dave also looks after the grounds at Halswell Domain and Warren Park. Almost every week he is on the fields marking the grounds for our four to eight-year-old football sessions – this has made a huge impact on the programme we run at Halswell. There have also been many occasions that our grounds have missed being marked by the council and Dave is then often found on a Friday afternoon ensuring the fields are ready for play. Only the other day, Dave was alone at Warren Park straightening up and compacting in all the junior goal posts. We are a very lucky club to have a volunteer such as Dave!
Other recipients: Owen Wylie (Mid Canterbury United), Bart Coles (FC Twenty11), Jeff Banks (Hornby United), Keith Neill (FC Twenty11), Craig Bowen (Halswell United), Maria Cropper (St Bede’s College), Willie Nation (referee), Regan Preston (referee), Deb Saunders (Waimak United)
Chris and Megan Lynch (Meadowbank United)
Chris has to take two hours off work every Friday so he can drive 90 mins down to train his junior team, stay overnight and coach them at the game on a Saturday morning. He also coaches a rep team in North Otago. He loves football and is always going to coaching and training workshops. Megan does endless work organising competitions in Twizel, be it kids’ soccer school, kids’ teams for winter soccer leagues or the local futsal competition, she gives it her all to make sure it goes easy for everyone else. From managing the financial side of it to arranging teams, times and games etc she makes sure it is all sorted.
Other recipients: Mark Stratford (Temuka United), Rob and Kerri-Anne Bray (Roslyn Wakari), Alison White (Meadowbank United), Nicky Strandring (Mosgiel), Lynn King (Green Island), Greig Evans (Old Boys), Peter Evans (Roslyn Wakari), Gavin Wheeler (Dunedin Technical), Simon Willetts (Meadowbank United)