Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Blacktown honours Little Athletics stalwart

Western Sydney’s Blacktown City Council has celebrated a dedicated volunteer and stalwart of Riverstone Little Athletics, Vernon Cross, by naming a field in his honour.

The athletics field at Riverstone Park has been officially named Vernon Cross Field, in recognition of Vernon’s 40 years of service to the club.

“Vernon’s dedication can be traced back to the club’s founding season in 1982, when Vernon’s daughter first joined the club in the Under 8’s,” said Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM,

“It wasn’t long before Vernon put up his hand to create and maintain a record board for the club.

“Around the same time, he was elected Championship Officer for zone, regional and state carnivals – a role he held until 2020.”

In 1987, he was elected Club President and has held this role ever since. Two years later, the club awarded Vernon life membership, and the accolades have kept coming.

In 2007, he was awarded Volunteer of the Year by Athletics NSW, and later, he received the Russel Magennis Award for Riverstone Schofields Sports Person of the Year.

Just last year, The Voice of Sport NSW awarded Vernon a Distinguished Long Service Award, making him the first member in the state to receive such an award.

“But Vernon was never in it for the awards. He’s the definition of a true volunteer, driven by giving back to his community and making his local club the very best it can be,” the Mayor said.

“People like Vernon are the backbone of our community – the volunteers who get on with the job without asking for praise or reward.

“They are the smiling face that greets everyone on club night, the mentor for up-and-comers, and the inspiration to all.”

During Vernon’s 40 years with the club, he has been committed to making sure it had the very best facilities.

Vernon was integral in getting a new club house and equipment storage area, as well as upgraded long jump pits, discus and shot-put rings.

His hard work also extends to Riverstone Schofields Memorial Club’s local sports council and Riverstone Park park committee.

“Vernon’s service is unique and it’s only fitting that this field be named in his honour,” Mayor Bleasdale said.

“Generations of runners, jumpers, throwers, hurdlers, and shot putters owe Vernon their thanks.”

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