She’s been at the heart and soul of the Katherine Turtles Swimming Club for almost two decades but Pru Ducey is showing no signs of slowing down.
A member of Swimming NT since 2002, Pru has dedicated an enormous amount of time to the sport she loves, all on a voluntary basis.
Described by her colleagues as “an asset to swimming in the regional areas,” Pru drives thousands of kilometres attending events with her club across Alice Springs, Palmerston, Darwin and interstate.
She’s even been shortlisted for Swimming Australia’s nomination for Local Legend of the Year. Swimming NT’s Lee-Ann Reader said Pru is a high achiever with many top swimmers graduating under her guidance.
“Pru gives up her time coaching, delivering school carnivals, and implementing indigenous programs and has been doing so for nearly 20 years,” Mrs Reader said.
“Pru is a true mentor, not just for swimmers but the wider community. Her warm personality and generosity makes her a hero in the community and her dedication has been well documented with her work in remote communities in sport.”
It’s not just her coaching ability that has fellow swimmers in awe, Pru is described as very patient, a meticulous planner and a coach that follows through with her athletes, proving she’s a true ambassador for the sport.
He’s a 200-gamer with a passion for the sport but ask Sam Fogg what’s kept him returning season after season and he’ll tell you it’s not just for cricket.
The Devonport Orions’ veteran is also the coach of the emerging women’s squad and he’s even rolled up his sleeves to paint the clubrooms more than once.
“I try to show people that being a club person isn’t just about playing the game,” Sam said. “Part of it is looking after the club, being part of a sporting community and a place where the kids can come for a hit. It’s all of that and more.”
Pundits have lauded Sam for his commitment to the new female format saying it has opened doors for local participation - including for wife, Leah.
“It’s a new concept for our club but it’s been great to be able to offer guidance based around my knowledge of the game,” he said.
Leah and their six-year-old twins Cooper and Zoe watched on recently when the 38-year-old notched up his 200th milestone at a showdown against Riverside in the Greater Northern Cup clash.
Vice-president Stephen Lee said Sam was a club all-rounder in every respect.
“Sam is the model of what we would require as the ultimate clubman and player,” Mr Lee said. And while he has a few doubts about his ongoing fitness these days, Sam is determined to play on while he can.
“It's been a struggle to get where I am but I’ll just keep playing until I can't play anymore.”
To read more about the Devonport Orions Cricket Club, click here.
LYN Brown has been a key fixture at the Penguin Football Club kiosk since her sons first pulled on the boots. What started as a bit of volunteer work on a weekend has evolved into a role much cherished by players, staff and fans. She will tell you it’s about serving up the best sav’s, chips and hot soup on those cold winter mornings. But club officials credit Mrs Brown with so much more. “Lyn's loyalty to the club has been unbelievable,” club president Brian Lane said. “She has been an exemplary leader of the canteen for many years. Her calming demeanor keeps all of our volunteers who work in the canteen in a happy state. "She is working full time as a teacher but is always the first to put her hand up to assist with any extra catering the club takes on. Lyn is an example of why a club would not be able to function without volunteers.” The 62-year-old primary school teacher credits the support of just as many volunteers around her - even though sometimes they could do with a few more. Some weekends when it’s busy you don’t get a chance to duck off and watch the boys play,” Mrs Brown said. She said the club had proved to be a linchpin for the family. Two of her three sons Jacob, 27 and Julian, 21 are regulars in the senior squad. Husband Colin also volunteers his time marking the ground between matches. “It has just always been a part of our lives,” she said. “The boys started playing in the mini league and I started off helping a friend in the canteen. “It just snowballed and now we have a dedicated crew who volunteer their time. It offers us friendships and purpose and I think that can be so important especially during difficult times.” But Mrs Brown isn’t the only one who says the club is teetering on the edge of something pretty special. “We have lost a couple of our last grand final appearances but we have a new coach who has really instilled some self belief in the players. That’s important and I think it’s going to pay off.”
Long-distance running isn’t just a hobby for Somerset man Shane James - he has to run most days to manage the symptoms of Stiff Person Syndrome.
Mr James was diagnosed with SPS in 2007, which causes extreme pain, muscle spasms and anxiety.
The 52-year-old refuses to let the debilitating neurological condition slow him down, running 880 kilometres across Tasmania to raise awareness for the Stiff Person Syndrome Research Foundation.
“It’s affected me in every way you could possibly imagine, and adjusting back into society, getting back into work has been tough,” Mr James said. Since his diagnosis, Mr James has run the New York Marathon and placed a podium finish in the 2012 Boston Marathon mobility impaired section.
Determined to help find a cure, Shane is going the distance and will soon tackle the route between Somerset to Eddystone Point for the final leg of his journey.
Running has helped Mr James keep pace with his condition, in turn keeping his muscle spasms at bay. “It gave me the incentive and motivation to do it, to raise some awareness and goals.
“If it can give someone else with the condition some hope, it’s worth it.”
here.Find out more about The Stiff Person Syndrome Research Foundation
The documentary, Run to Live, showcasing Mr James' remarkable journey can be found here.