VOLUNTEERS are the heart and soul of the Peel Thunder Football Club with the loyal supporters enjoying helping young footballers throughout the region try and reach their potential.
A small army of volunteers is excited about taking part in the first home game of the season this Saturday.
Among them will be Roz Cameron, Rose Bucktin and Rod Hazell who have all been involved with the club for many years.
Mrs Cameron and Mrs Bucktin help set up functions in the club’s Platinum Room.
Mrs Cameron said she started coming to Mandurah with her husband Dave from Collie every weekend since 2003.
“I love every bit of it,” she said.
“The people are so friendly, we never knew a soul before we came to Mandurah but this place is a real focal point for the community.
Mrs Bucktin said she couldn’t wait for the season to begin.
“We don’t often get to see the games because we are busy behind the scenes, but we go to most of the away games and enjoy watching them,” she said.
Mr Hazell started with the club as a board member and is kept busy these days as a handyman, doing odd jobs around the place and helping out at the past players kiosk.
He said the club had been a major part of his life and he had enjoyed watching all the youngsters come through and enjoy playing football.
Peel Football Manager Andrew McBean also paid tribute to senior team manager Neil Doherty, assistant Kevin Costello and timekeepers Irene and Peter Ferguson who also perform key roles.
“Neil has a significant role making sure all the paperwork is done,” Mr McBean said.
“He is also involved with senior development and runs training three days a week.
“Kevin helps Neil by making sure all the jumpers a washed, footballs are pumped up, that sort of thing, and on matchday he makes sure that everything runs smoothly.”
He said the Fergusons have been timekeeping for a number of years and play a major role in ensuring games run smoothly.
“All our volunteers are really important,” Mr McBean said.
“They are great club and community people and we love them.”
He said volunteers were vital to the club, with about 30 people ranging in age from early 20s to 70, pitching in.
“We can’t do it without them, they are hugely significant,” he said.
Mr McBean said the volunteers get lots of satisfaction from seeing players develop as they go through the ranks.
“They feel as though they are part of the players’ journey,” he said.