Charter Hall Community Spirit Award to return in 2023

Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 10:32 PM
Declan Armstrong
by Declan Armstrong

The Charter Hall Community Spirit Award is set to return in 2023, with volunteers from each Shute Shield club celebrated for their incredible contributions and tireless effort within their rugby community.

The Award, won by Chris Hedge from the Manly Marlins last year, was created to highlight the incredible stories of service and passion within each club, recognising that local rugby would not be the success it is without the generosity of these volunteers.

The Charter Hall Community Spirit Award will celebrate up to two nominees from each of the twelve Shute Shield clubs, with the winner to be announced at the Catchpole Medal Dinner on 9 August 2023.

Peter Watkins, General Manager of Sydney Rugby Union, says the Charter Hall Community Spirit Award helps bring unsung heroes to our game's forefront of community recognition.

“Each of the nominees has displayed a strong commitment to care, connect and unify the game of rugby in NSW,” he said.

“This includes fostering a sense of community within our clubs, engaging and empowering new participants and being a source of motivation and encouragement for supporters of all levels.

“These volunteers are the backbone of the Charter Hall Shute Shield, so their hard work must be celebrated.”

In the lead-up to Catchpole Medal night this Wednesday, read up on each of this year's Charter Hall Community Spirit Award nominees.

Oliver Sumsky - Eastern Suburbs

Oliver has been involved with Easts for 7 years, volunteering across a range of club roles, such as coach, referee and club administrator. Oliver is dedicated to players and coaches at all levels at Easts, providing support beyond the rugby field and becoming the glue that maintains a lot of key relationships within the Club. Oliver always has the best interests of the Club at heart and brings everyone together through actions and positivity.

Rosie Ellem - Eastwood

Acting as Eastwood’s matchday controller, Rosie dedicates every Saturday during the season to her beloved Woodies. Rosie is often the last at the ground on gameday, ensuring all ground pack-up is complete at all Eastwood home games. Rosie represents Eastwood incredibly diligently, ensuring all visiting clubs are shown respect and sending an incredibly positive message about the Eastwood community. Her friendly persona sets the tone for the Club and ensures a true connection is felt at every level.

Ian Bonner - Manly

For over 25 years, Ian has worked tirelessly across all areas of the Club to ensure that everyone at Manly is cared for. ‘Bonz’ is a man of integrity, always putting others before himself. Having started as a player at Manly, ‘Bonz’ has a great understanding of the game and what is needed to ensure the Club's success. Ian’s ability to connect across all levels of the Club ensures inclusivity, allowing every Marlin to feel involved and pivotal to on and off-field success.

Daniel Dowe - Randwick

Assisting across every level of the Club, Daniel brings every member of the Randwick Club together and inspires others through action. Daniel never misses a training session, or a Club event and is always the first person to introduce himself to any new player or volunteer. Recently appointed as the Ballkids Manager for Wallaby Tests and the Sydney 7s, Daniel’s reliability and efficiency is a key factor in Randwick’s success. He is the friendly face to all who want to put on the myrtle green jersey and his efforts are appreciated across all levels of the Club.

Ashley Miller - Sydney University

Ash lives and breathes SUFC, advocating for the success of the sport at every level and highlighting the importance of having fun in everything you do. This sense of unification ensures connectivity across the entire Club, ensuring every Uni member feels a sense of community in all that they do. Ash will often go beyond what’s expected, driving people to all parts of Sydney after matches and never failing to remember names and faces. His genuine sense of care is felt by everyone at Sydney Uni, ensuring all players and supporters have what they need to be the best versions of themselves.

Lindsay Gordon - Warringah

For over a decade, Lindsay’s service across all match day operations has ensured the smooth and successful performance of the Club. Lindsay is often the first face you’ll spot at Rat Park on gameday, ensuring every player and supporter feels safe and welcomed. He ensures fellow volunteers are recruited, rostered and committed to every match, ensuring all tasks are completed to the highest standard. Acting as the Club historian, Lindsay ensures the values of Warringah Rugby Club are honoured and respected across all levels of the Club.

Vince Gee - West Harbour

Vince has shown dedication and service to the Pirates for nearly 21 years, acting across all levels of the Club and encouraging involvement by all. Vince has always been concerned with ensuring all members of the West Harbour community feel welcome from the moment they join. He is a fantastic advocate for women's rugby at West Harbour, ensuring everyone has a sense of belonging within their team. Vince’s dedication to the Club helps connect Pirates of all ages, ensuring the legacy of West Harbour is instilled in every community member.

More Charter Hall Community Spirit Award nominees are to be announced soon.