FOR most Cobden locals when they think of the Cobden Football Netball Club there is a name synonymous with the club – Les Sumner.
A member of the club since 1950 and life member since 1995, he has a long history with the Cobden football and netball community.
On Monday, Mr Sumner was awarded the prestigious accolade of a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for his service to the community of Cobden.
While football has a fond place in his heart, his volunteering interests went even further.
Over the years Mr Sumner has accumulated an impressive amount of volunteer hours, helping the community he loves which includes:
Country Fire Authority (CFA):
- Assistant communications officer, Cobden Fire Brigades Group since 2013;
- Deputy group officer between 1981 to 2007;
- Secretary between 1981 and 1997;
- Secretary and delegate for the Jancourt brigade since 1969;
- Jancourt CFA member since 1960; and
- Jancourt CFA treasurer between 2003 and 2009.
Victorian Country Football League:
- Head trainer between 1996 and 2009;
- Trainer from 1990 to 1996;
- Trainers delegate on the Hampden Regional Board between 1989 and 2004;
- Interleague head trainer in the Hampden Football Netball League since 1976, hall of fame member since 2017 and Hampden life member since 2000;
- Foundation member and president, Hampden Sports Trainers Association, life member since 1995; and
- Head trainer, Cobden Football Netball Club since 1974, life member since 1995 and a member since 1950.
- Cobden Meals on Wheels between 1985 and 2000;
- Member of Cobden/Camperdown Division, St John Ambulance Australia between 1973 and 1985;
- President of the Cobden Scout Group between 1974 and 1977; and
- Foundation member and secretary, Jancourt Cricket Club, 1957.
Mr Sumner said when the letter arrived informing him of the award he was shocked and went “as white as a ghost”.
“I couldn’t believe it, it’s something you never dream about and then all of a sudden you get a letter,” he said.
“I just wanted to help people.”
Reflecting back over his years of involvement in the community, Mr Sumner said one of his proudest accomplishments was through football.
“For a little country person to get into the highest level we’re able to get into as trainers is a proud moment,” he said.
“It’s something you don’t think of.”
Mr Sumner thanked his family for its support over the years.
“I would never have got any of this without my family, they filled in when I couldn’t,” he said.
“The community is a very caring community. It’s just easy to help out.”