2021 VAFA Certificate of Merit Winners

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Kylie da Fonte (MHSOB)

Kylie da Fonte joined Melbourne High School Old Boys as Club Trainer in 1999. She is now in her 22nd year in the role, while also having spent 20 of those on the committee, including the past 11 as Secretary.

Kylie has volunteered her expertise as a VAFA Representative Team Trainer since 2004, and she was the recipient of a VAFA 125-Year Club Award for Service to Melbourne High. She is a 3-time winner of the Melbourne High Outstanding Club Person Award and was inducted as the club’s first female Life Member in 2014.

She has overseen team registrations and clearances, medical personnel and supplies, the club’s Auskick Program AND match day luncheons.

Stephen Manning (Ormond AFC)

Stephen Manning has been involved with the Ormond Amateur Football Club since the turn of the century. After starting out as a supporter and social function regular, he joined the committee in 2003 & has remained there in a general or executive capacity ever since.

He was the VAFA Delegate for 3 seasons before taking the reigns as Club Secretary for the past 15 years! His assists in a variety of roles on match day – including umpire escort and barman.

As a Life Member of the Club, Stephen is Brown and Blue through and through – something that has certainly helped him over the past 20 years as an Essendon supporter.

John Pilkington (VAFA Tribunal)

John Pilkington commenced his tenure at Old Scotch in 1967 where he played 125 games across seven years which included Reserves premierships in 1967 and 1969. Individual accolades included captaincy and leading goal kicker awards.

If you’re someone who plays on the edge, you might have met John at some point, as he has been a Member and Chairperson of the VAFA Independent Tribunal from 1990 to 2019. Entering his 30th year of service in 2020, he was appointed a Chair of the Appeals Tribunal.

John Robinson (VAFA)

John Robinson has been involved with the VAFA for over 20 years in both an administrative and umpiring capacity.

His roles have included VAFA Match Day Manager, VAFA finals Timekeeper, Rep Football Property Steward and Timekeeper, and VAFA Goal Umpire.

His timekeeping has certainly been his one wood, amazingly having done it for more than 80 Big V games.

Phil Skeggs (Ivanhoe AFC)

Phil Skeggs’ involvement with Ivanhoe Amateurs spans 50 years. As a primary schoolboy at East Ivanhoe who grew up on The Boulevard, Ivanhoe Amateurs was his local club where he ran boundary, operated the scoreboard and goal umpired – all for a pie and a drink.

As an adult, Phil joined the committee in 1995 and has not looked back, organising club luncheons and trivia nights, and dedicating up to 20 hours per week with his core role with press and publicity. His match reports to local papers have been a constant and earned him 3 press correspondent awards from the VAFA and a club life membership. It started with hand-typed match reports, live-to-air community radio reports, pioneering a live C grade grand final match broadcast with Harry Beitzel on InnerFM in 1995, and a two-year stint hosting the Ammos Show with Don Blackwood in the late 1990s.

He has been the club photographer since 2007, helps with social media and has continued filing regular match reports and news pics for Heidelberg Leader.

Terry Symons (Parkdale Vultures)

Terry Symons is the first-ever Certificate of Merit nomination for Parkdale Vultures.

Terry played for one of Parkdale’s formation clubs – St Pat’s Mentone – during the early 80’s, and soon became Club Secretary before being awarded Life Membership in 1989.

When St Pat’s and Parkdale Football Club merged in 2004, Terry was instrumental to its success, serving on the committee as Treasurer and officiating as Club Umpire.

He was a major force in the club’s implementation of a women’s team in 2019 and, unsurprisingly, he has received the Best Club Person Award a record 6 times!

Scott Williams (Caulfield Grammarians)

After first joining Caulfield Grammarians in 1988, Scott Williams has been there every season for the past 33 years.

He played 182 games for the Fields, captaining the Reserves, winning a Best & Fairest & forming part of the 2000 premiership team.

Off Field, Scott served on the Caulfield committee as Honorary Secretary for 6 seasons and has spent 20 years as Football Operations Manager and Club Umpire!

If that wasn’t enough, Scott and his wife have kept the pundits fed by operating the club canteen at Glenhuntly Oval – considered one of the best and most varied menus in the VAFA.

As a life member of the Football Club and an Honorary Life Member of the Caulfield Grammarians Association, he can now add VAFA Certificate of Merit Awardee to his long list of accolades.

Mick O’Leary (Therry Penola)

Anyone who has ventured into the Therry Penola rooms after a game would have met our next awardee, Mick ‘The Barman’ O’Leary.

Ever since strolling down to Therry in 1984 to watch a game with a mate, Mick has served as the club’s Publican ever since.

While he is best known for his work behind the bar, Mick has meticulously cleaned the rooms, marked the ground, liaised with Council & ordered supplies. He time keeps and escorts the umpires for early matches, while providing tea and coffee for Thirds spectators during senior away games.

Mick has been involved with Therry for 37 years and was awarded Life Membership in 2005.

Richard Simon (Ormond AFC)

Richard Simon has been involved with the VAFA for 32 years since commencing his career as an umpire in 1989. He went on the officiate over 150 A Grade matches and was considered one of the more popular umpires due to his willingness and ability to explain his decisions.

Richard became Ormond’s club umpire in 1998 and joined the committee in 2013 – taking over as President one year later. In his 8 years as El Presidente, Richard has actively reconnected former players through his regular online correspondence and match day luncheons.

He has watched 3 of his sons don the Brown and Blue with 2 gearing up to play in 2021.

Gerry Westmore (Uni Blues)

Gerry Westmore joined University Blues FC in 1973 and carved out a career as a dour rover and wily half forward across 14 years. He was named Reserves Best & Fairest in 1978 and 1983, while captaining for two seasons.

In 2004, Gerry returned to the club & has since performed a variety of roles, including Reserves Team Manager for the past 15 years. He is a tireless worker on game day from running the boundary or water for the reserves, through to giving drinks (and some expert advice) to the umpires.

Gerry’s contribution to the Blues was recognised with the Chris Brown Memorial Award in 2008 – the club’s highest accolade for non-playing personnel, before receiving Life Membership in 2013.

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