Football Queensland (FQ) and NAB are proud to announce John Sketchley of Buderim Wanderers FC as the winner of the NAB Volunteer of the Month award for July.
Sketchley, who is almost 81 years old, started volunteering at the Sunshine Coast club last year and helps out twice a week, undertaking tasks such as marking lines and setting up fields.
What makes Sketchley’s dedication to the Wanderers so captivating is that he has no family members at the club and only became involved when his friends’ children started playing at the club.
Now Sketchley is not only recognised as the number one supporter of Buderim’s Under 14s team (the team whom his friend’s children play for) but also as a role model and an inspiration for everyone involved at the Wanderers.
Buderim Wanderers Under 14s parent Danielle Schaumburg nominated Sketchley to NAB’s Academy of Awesome for his selfless dedication to the club and the local community.
“He marks lines, sets up fields, puts in flags, sets out chairs and just does anything that is asked of him,” she said.
“I can’t explain what it is like to have an 80-year-old, almost 81, it’s his birthday next week, as such an important mentor and role model to all the kids here at the club.
“He talks to them before games and he’s always there to give them a pat on the back after games as well.”
Schaumberg was overjoyed to see his dedication recognised but Sketchley was shocked by the honour.
“It took me by surprise,” he admitted, when he first found out he’d won.
“There are so many volunteers, certainly in Queensland and certainly on the Sunshine Coast, that I am sure are more worthy of this award than I am, but I feel very humbled.”
A former naval man, Sketchley credits his time at sea for shaping his community-centric attitude.
“The community spirit in the navy and how we run our crews, maintaining discipline, while also being very caring, it’s stood me in good stead for community work here,” he said.
Most of all though, Sketchley was eager to use the spotlight to pay tribute to all the people at Buderim Wanderers, especially the players he watches every week with such pride.
“I’ve found the kids, certainly at the football, are very polite”, he said.
“They are all great to talk to, very grown up and know where they’re are going”.
“They’re just nice people to be around and I find, especially at my age, mixing with the youngsters these days, it gives me a big boost.
“Their parents are extremely friendly and I just find that the whole community spirit up at the Buderim Wanderers club is out of this world.”
Is there a volunteer at your local club who should be recognised for the time they dedicate to football? Nominate someone for the NAB Volunteer of the Month here.
Words: Samuel Johnson