Fred Furner was thrilled to be named Adult Volunteer of the Year at the 2023 Wests Sports Volunteer of the Year Awards on Saturday.
Enthusiastically applauded by fellow members of Macarthur BMX, Mr Furner accepted his award from Wests Group Macarthur Chairman Alan Buxton and CEO Daniel Perkiss at an inspiring function at Wests League Club Leumeah.
“I am honoured to have been nominated amongst a large group of worthy recipients,” Mr Furner said.
“Thank you to past and present committee members for making my job easy, a great bunch of people who also go above and beyond for Macarthur BMX Club and the sport.”
Mr Furner first became a member of Macarthur BMX in 2010 when his son took up the sport of BMX racing and took on a more official volunteering role in 2014, when he joined the board, later becoming board President in 2017, a role he still holds today.
He also volunteers his time travelling the country at both state and national BMX events as a track official, and support Macarthur riders to perform their best.
Youth Volunteer of the Year, Cody Sainsbury (Macarthur Football Association) joined Mr Furner in thanking Wests for their commitment to local sport, both on and off the field, saying, “The recognition is greatly appreciated, and we appreciate the awesome evening you put on for us all!”
Mr Sainsbury has been a member of the Macarthur Football Association Representative Teams since 2018 and is one of the youngest coaches to complete the C License coaching Certificate and has held roles as an assistant coach of the Under 11s, under 12s and under 13 teams.
On accepting the award, he acknowledged how rewarding being a volunteer can be and the impact that it can have on players.
“I just wanted to help out…and the best part of being a leader and volunteer is having the kids you are helping do what you ask them to do,” Mr Sainsbury said.
The Wests Sports Volunteer of the Year Awards, held annually to coincide with National Volunteer Week, honours the many selfless people who generously give of their time to keep the wheels of local sport turning.
A new category this year acknowledged those who have volunteered for 40 years & over: Colin White (Western Suburbs Referees Association), Lyn Deveney (Macquarie Fields Swimming Club) and Paul Neaves (Macarthur District Football Referees Association).
“These are the unsung heroes of sport and Wests wanted to provide the platform for them to unwind, celebrate, and be recognised for their efforts,” Daniel Perkiss, CEO, Wests Group Macarthur said.
Over 100 nominations were received this year from various codes including swimming, hockey, rugby league, AFL, Cricket, BMX, and more.
“We know sporting organisations would not be able to run without these selfless and passionate people who give their time willingly to fill critical roles on and off the field each week,” Alan Buxton, Chairman of Wests Group Macarthur said.
Congratulating the celebrating volunteers, NRL legend Greg Inglis said, “Hats off to you, I don’t think you guys realise how much impact you have. Without you there’ll be no weekend sports!”
Each nominee was recognised with a service pin, certificate, and gift from Wests with the total list of recipients cumulatively representing around 135 decades of service to sport in the region.