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Whitford JFC's Claire O'Donnell named 2019 West Perth District “Optus Volunteer of the Year” Finalist

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 - 4:14 PM

Claire O'Donnell has been named as a finalist for the Optus WA Volunteer of the Year and will be representing the West Perth District in the next phase of the awards. Claire has been an incredibly hard working volunteer over of a number of years and currently holds the role of Treasurer for the Whitford Junior Football Club, among a variety of other roles.

Claire has been on the committee at Whitford Junior Football Club since 2012. She currently holds multiple roles at the club, including Club Treasurer, interim Club Secretary,  Communications Officer and she organises events. She also oversees the new club website.  Claire started the Whitford JFC canteen from nothing and has raised thousands of dollars for the club. She also organises all of the rosters for volunteers and committee.  

To quote one of the nominations received for Claire for the Optus Volunteer of the Year Award:

"For many years, Claire has been a shining light in the Whitford Junior Football Club. She is tireless, enthusiastic and generous in how much effort she puts in for the club generally but also for individual teams. Our excellent canteen can be credited to Claire (and her band of volunteers) - it is a wonderful service for home and away spectators and players, as well as a valuable fundraising avenue for WJFC. Claire has been super willing to help this team manager organise events for our huge 18s squad to help bring the team and parents/guardians together to create a unified group. These include an evening for players and parents before the season began, a mid-season sausage sizzle after the school holiday break, as well as planning for an end of year sit down dinner for the boys with canapes for the parents. All of these initiatives will help to make the final year of junior footy memorable for our year 12 players and are also designed to encourage retention of the younger players in this age group."

Claire goes above & beyond with her leadership & support of both Whitford Junior Football Club and West Perth FC.  She is always promoting the clubs and leading the way with fundraising, while engaging local businesses.  Claire gives so much time to the Club, including her Friday nights and weekends with canteen duties. This includes early morning pick up of rolls starting at 5:30am!  Claire is also known to cook up kilos of meat on Friday's for the twilight games. 

For many years, Claire's commitment to the Club has come at the expense of watching her own children play. Whitford has many amazing committee members who make everything run like clock work, but there is no doubt that Claire's enthusiasm and energy has buoyed people to come along for that ride. Claire embodies the WAFC's goal of creating a fun, enjoyable environment for players and families alike - that is, improving and maintaining the Spirit of the Game.

She works full time but also gives up her entire weekend for football - Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays.   After hours she shops and stocks the canteen.  She cooks at night to provide food specials to families at the club, so they can enjoy Fridays watching games of footy on Whitford's ovals with the AFL broadcasting on televisions she purchased for the clubrooms.  Claire personally knows hundreds of players and their parents, having spent her weekends chatting to them, watching games, selling merchandise and generally running the club. Claire is a bubbly, outgoing person who loves football and gives everything to football and encourages others to do the same.

Claire has been invited to to the Sandover Medal Award Night on Monday, September 16th at Optus Stadium alongside Subiaco District's John Sobolewski and Claremont District's Rhys Mola. She will also join a large list of District Volunteers across all three Districts to be recognised for their work in supporting WA Football on Friday, 20th September at the 2019 Metro North Awards of Excellence.