By SANFL Media
Serving the Blackwood Football Club for more than 20 years, and a key player behind the club’s new unisex changeroom facility, Leonie Wilmshurst has been named the 2020 SANFL Statewide Super Volunteer of the Year.
Leonie was announced as the winner at a presentation ceremony at Adelaide Oval last night where she featured alongside seven other finalists from throughout SA who were nominated for their outstanding contributions to grassroots footy.
Championing a small but dedicated team of volunteers from Blackwood FC, Leonie sacrificed countless hours over more than four years planning for the club’s major facility project which was completed in September 2019 and has set a benchmark for future modular-built changeroom facilities in SA.
Her involvement included the preparation of comprehensive submissions for Federal and local government facilities funding which contributed $450,000 towards the project.
Furthermore, Leonie built strong relationships with local council and members of parliament, often hosting them at club games to gain support and commitment to the new build at Blackwood.
Among her many roles and duties at the club over the past two decades are team manager, SANFL Juniors club administrator, managing many players permits, engaging with club sponsors, organising fundraising events and co-ordinating match day volunteer rosters.
SANFL Head of Community Football Tom Hurley said Leonie’s outstanding efforts reflected the tremendous spirit of community football in South Australia and she was a deserving winner of this year’s Statewide Super Volunteer of the Year Award.
“Leonie has been a passionate and dedicated member of the Blackwood Football Club which, in more recent years, has been a driving force behind the significant growth and success of female football at the Club,” Mr Hurley said.
“Leonie’s contributions to junior development and leading the charge in a major facilities upgrade to support the growth of female footy has without a doubt made a positive difference to both the club and the wider community.”
Leonie is both humbled and honoured to receive the award, saying she is driven by her love and passion for the football club.
“This is such an honour, you certainly don’t do the work because you want something back, you do it because you want it to be a better place for your kids and all their friends,” said Leonie, also a Life Member of the club.
“It’s our family life, I met my husband Nick there in 1996 and our children have come through the club.
“The club is just so community based – we call it our ‘BFC’ family.”
Speaking at last night’s awards, Statewide Super Chief Executive Tony D’Alessandro said that it has never been more important to recognise our volunteers, especially given the challenges so many clubs have faced over recent months.
“These volunteers are the back-bone of their local club and the unconditional loyalty, support and personal contributions they make so tirelessly, extend to the betterment of the wider community,” Mr D’Alessandro said.
“To those who give their all, helping their clubs prosper and survive particularly in hard times, we thank you for your efforts, all of which don’t go unnoticed.”
The other seven finalists in the 2020 SANFL Statewide Super Volunteer of the Year were:
They will each receive the following prizes:
As the winner, Leonie also was awarded the David Shipway AM Medal and perpetual trophy and receives a one-night stay for two people at Serafino Winery, McLaren Vale, including three-course dinner and breakfast. During the stay, Leonie will be provided with a new luxury Kia vehicle on a two-day loan to explore the famous wine region in style.