A 50 year veteran volunteer of community sport and fundraising, John Stoffels, has been named the 2022 Cronulla Senior of the Year on day one of the NSW Seniors Festival.

I announced John as the winner at a celebratory morning tea where the trophy was presented by Minister for Seniors Mark Coure.

John has been passionate about giving people from the Sutherland Shire the opportunity to play and enjoy sport. Over the years he has been a driving force across football, softball and more recently golf, always actively involved in fundraising to provide a better experience and facilities for players.

John’s enthusiasm for a cause is obvious, no more so than in his current role as Chair of the Woolooware Golf Club’s Legacy Committee, where he spearheads the annual push to help the families of fallen or ill veterans.

As an ex-serviceman himself, John throws himself into leading the fundraising effort, helping the club donate significant sums of money even when COVID-19 lockdowns have meant the yearly Legacy golf day couldn’t be held.

John’s passion, commitment and enthusiasm is infectious and has made a big difference to many people involved with both sport and Legacy.

John’s service to sport started with the Sutherland Shire Soccer Football Club, now the Sutherland Sharks Football Club, including a number of years as President, continued with the Sutherland Shire Softball Association where he was the President for more than a decade, and more recently he has been involved with the Sharks Social Golf Club, where he has served as President for almost 10 years.

The other finalists in the Cronulla NSW Seniors Festival Local Achievement Awards were:

  • Patricia Cudmore – St Vincent de Paul Society Sutherland Shire regional president
  • John Curtis – NSW State Emergency Service volunteer
  • Michael Douglas – Sutherland Food Services volunteer including past president
  • Ron Griffths – Lilli Pilli Football Club volunteer
  • Betty Jacobs – Kurnell Girl Guides and Kurnell Pensioners’ Club volunteer
  • Chris Murray – NSW State Emergency Service  leading senior operator
  • Norman “Buzz” Piddington – North Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club volunteer
  • Neil Reynolds – Caringbah Baptist Church and Skills4Me volunteer
  • Russell Sullivan – Port Hacking Open Sailing Club rear commodore
  • Brian Thompson OAM – Elouera Surf Life Saving Club patron, Tradies director
  • Peter Turbet – Sutherland Shire Council Bushcare volunteer, Fred Hollows Foundation worker and history author.

The awards recognise the invaluable contribution seniors make to so many aspects of community life here in the Shire.

The finalists highlight how fortunate we are to have such incredible, dedicated volunteers in the Sutherland Shire, which makes it such a great place to live.