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HSBC Volunteer of the Year nominee: Spotlight on Wendy Leach

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By ARU Media Unit

Every weekend across Australia volunteers give up their time so that you, your mates, or your kids, can enjoy the game of rugby. It’s an often forgotten role but the reality is that without volunteers, our clubs wouldn’t run.

That’s why the ARU, in partnership with HSBC, is running the HSBC Volunteer of the Year program, which aims to recognise the outstanding efforts of club volunteers across the country. 

With only two weeks to go until nominations close, there have already been many worthy nominations but when it comes to the glue that holds a rugby family together, you can’t go past Wendy Leach who has played an outstanding supporting role at Palmerston Rugby Club for over two decades.

Every Saturday since 1986, Wendy and her late husband Mal would wake at the crack of dawn to drive 270 kilometers to support her beloved Palmerston Crocs rain, hail or shine. Wendy and Mal were there for the team, looking after them in any way possible. Although we know her as Wendy, the players know her as ‘mum’. 

“She is the mother figure at the club” said fellow volunteer Fiona Weaver. “Wendy has watched most of our lads since they were children. She has supported and nurtured these guys since they were little and assisted in their transition into adulthood, playing a role in helping them to become strong, confident and respectable young men.” 

A few years ago, Wendy was deservingly presented to the club as a life member after serving as club secretary, volunteering on the barbeque, writing the weekly club newsletter, archiving forty years of records and the thousands of kilometers clocked up from over twenty years of service. 

In a gesture that elegantly personifies Wendy’s heart, she has sponsored the ‘Most Promising Player’ award which is given to the best up and coming senior player - usually in their first season in senior rugby. This award was designed to be an encouragement to young players and build confidence in their game and their character. Wendy and Mal have personally presented this award for the last twenty years. 

Wendy has been the 'mother' to countless young men and women,– and at 77 years of age, she shows no signs of hanging up the boots.

If there’s a volunteer at your club that deserves recognition for their support, now’s your chance to say thank you.  

The HSBC Volunteer of the Year award recognises those who volunteer their time and make a significant contribution to community rugby across Australia. Nominations close in two weeks, with the winner set to receive a $10,000 grant* from HSBC for their club. The winner will also be awarded with a VIP experience at the prestigious John Eales Medal award ceremony, where they’ll meet some of Australia’s most respected rugby players.