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    THE SUNSHINES ON WESTERN REGION SPORTS CLUB

    Date:

    By David Hillhouse

    The Sunshine and Western Region Sports Club can certainly boast of a fine record of achievements and speakers since its inception in 1990, as a result of suggestions by ex-Test Cricket Umpire Jack Collins. 

    After attending meetings of the Ballarat Sports Club, Mr Collins introduced some of their concepts to the Sunshine Club.  The Sunshine Club attracted sports-minded people interested in promoting sport in Sunshine and the western suburbs.  The Club added Western to its name in 1990 and extended its support to people aged 13 to 20 years who live within the western suburbs’ municipalities of Brimbank, Maribyrnong, Wyndham, Melton and Hobsons Bay.

    Each month the Club has a dinner with a guest speaker who volunteers their time to address members & guests of the sports club to assist its fundraising activities.  Past speakers include football greats such as Chris Grant, David Parkin, Doug Hawkins, Terry Wallace, Robert Flower and Rodney Eade; cricket champions such as Merv Hughes and Rodney Hogg; Olympic champions like Russell Mark; Australian netballer Sharelle McMahon and Australian Netball Coach and Phoenix coach Joyce Brown.  

    The major achievement of the Club’s fundraising activities from memberships and dinners is sponsoring junior sports people at the highest levels of their chosen sport (State, National or International).  The Club is also very proud of its assistance for disabled athletes.  The Club was responsible for funding and constructing the E.J Whitten statue outside the entrance to Whitten Oval, Footscray.  Funds raised not only go to the sporting youth of the west but also to a charity of the Club’s choice.  Since the Club’s inception it has donated over $300,000 to various organisations including $10,000 to the Sunshine Hospital Children’s Ward.

    ln May 2001 the Club created an award in honour of its late member, Don Deeble, who was one of the great sports personalities of the Western suburbs.  Each month a young sportsperson who is performing at State or National level, or shows the potential to compete at this level, is nominated for the award.  The monthly nominees receive an award of $1,000 and come from a variety of sports including paralympics, lacrosse, tennis, soccer, basketball, taekwondo, netball and athletics.  At each club dinner in January an annual winner of the award is presented with a $5,000 cheque.  Two runners-up each receive cheques of $2,500.  Many Don Deeble award winners have gone on to achieve sporting success at international level including the Olympics.  

    The Club also has major sponsorship from the Yarraville Club Cricket Club which donates $20,000 to the Don Deeble Award annually and has so far donated $120,000 in total.  For the past 23 years Ascot Vale Sports & Trophies has donated trophies and plaques for the Club’s guest speakers and the Don Deeble Rising Star award.  Other important sponsors include New Balance/Sim’s Sports Moonee Ponds, Star Newsgroup, Medway Golf Club, Noone lmagewear, Sanctuary Lakes Hotel Point Cook, Sun Theatre, Salon Support, Waterstone Cafe, Rebel Sport Werribee and the Strathmore Community Bank.

    The Sunshine and Western Region Sports Club is certainly fulfilling its objective of financially assisting young people in the western suburbs with their chosen sport.

    Adam Crosthwaite, Dwaine Duncan (tennis) and Peter Howe
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