Ipswich Turf Club officials Wayne Patch and Brett Kitching have proudly promoted the city through the annual Ipswich Cup and other community projects. Picture: Inga Williams
Ipswich Turf Club officials Wayne Patch and Brett Kitching have proudly promoted the city through the annual Ipswich Cup and other community projects. Picture: Inga Williams

REVEALED: Top 10 Ipswich sport officials

AFTER a week of showcasing Ipswich's outstanding sporting officials, the final 10 is revealed.

All 55 officials highlighted have displayed incredible commitment, determination and an ability to handle the challenges thrown their way.

Most impressive has been the diversity of sports covered, again proving Ipswich's reputation as one of Australia's leading sporting cities.

As the countdown concludes, check out a top echelon of contributors making a difference.

Feel welcome to add your thoughts.

ELITE ACHIEVERS: City's best stand tall

FINE CONTRIBUTORS: Officials deserve praise

QUALITY PEOPLE: See who made this list

GETTING START: First group of star performers

THANKS IPSWICH: Valuable people make a difference

 

10. Kym Wickstein (soccer)

AFTER a period where regional football floundered, Wickstein took on a leadership role in revitalising the sport at state league level.

That culminated in the formation of the Western Pride Football Club in 2012.

Having been with Western Pride since day one, the life member is proud of what has been achieved at the progressive club. That includes winning a senior men's grand final after just five years, promoting players and coaches to national and international level, strengthening equality in the sport and building a powerful record of participation across all grades.

Despite the inevitable challenges, Wickstein has worked closely with other dedicated officials like Todd Hunt, Pat Boyle and Pye Augustine to keep Pride moving forward. Through his extensive banking and business experience, he also forged strong ties with the Ipswich City Council and other governing bodies.

MASSIVE PRIDE: Putting the region first

Recent surgery has curtailed Brookwater-based Wickstein's efforts. However, the energy and enthusiasm he injected into regional football will be long recognised.

Well before Pride teams took the field in their debut 2013 National Premier Leagues season, Wickstein had a vision of what regional football needed.

Working closely with other leading administrators and supportive Ipswich City councillor David Morrison, Wickstein pressed ahead securing a state league licence.

When Western Pride was confirmed as an NPL newcomer, the Springfield Bank of Queensland manager conceded the financial reality of the job ahead struck home.

Equipment had to be bought and fields found to trial at. Ipswich Grammar School provided a welcome start before the North Ipswich Reserve and later Briggs Road Sporting Complex were secured for games.

Despite the doubters, Western Pride FC officials built a solid foundation, backed by the grassroots regional clubs at the time.

Regionally-focused football administrator Kym Wickstein. Picture: Rob Williams
Regionally-focused football administrator Kym Wickstein. Picture: Rob Williams

 

9. Vic Pascoe (athletics)

FEW officials in Ipswich are as dedicated as athletics supremo Pascoe.

Although Pascoe has been widely recognised for his coaching, it has been his work as club president that is most valuable.

The 2011 Ipswich Citizen of the Year travels around the country and sometimes overseas to support Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitors at various state, national and international events.

Among his favourite moments was in 2017 when he cheered on Youth Olympic Games prospect Rochelle Vidler at the Oceania championships in Suva.

He has shared countless stories of club achievements, encouraging others and underlining by his passion for the sport.

ALWAYS LEARNING: Coach finds new ways to help athletes

Pascoe is proud of all his athletes, nurturing them through the many highs and lows of their challenging disciplines.

Under Pascoe's guidance, the Ipswich club continues to produce a growing number of quality athletes setting personal bests at state and national championships.

His focus is always on developing the new generation, while acknowledging Ipswich coaches and parents who have made the club one of the best in Queensland.

The ever-smiling Ipswichian is always available for extra sessions, sharing his extensive knowledge about nutrition, physiology, technique and following the correct procedures.

His regular club newsletters and videos promote the efforts of everyone in the Ipswich club which has built a national reputation for achievement.

Well-travelled athletics supremo Vic Pascoe. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Well-travelled athletics supremo Vic Pascoe. Picture: Cordell Richardson

 

8. Wayne Patch (racing/multiple sports)

AS someone who fights fearlessly for the Ipswich Turf Club and Ipswich, Patch remains one of the city's most valuable assets.

He has been ITC chairman for 19 years and on the committee for nearly three decades.

Working alongside club general manager Brett Kitching, Patch has led a progressive committee often facing challenges but always looking to build a sustainable future.

The club chairman is an excellent communicator with a strong sense of history. He knows how important the turf club is to the region and state.

Patch has played a leading role in current Racing Queensland infrastructure upgrades at the Bundamba venue, a project he has fought hard to secure. The opening of the Ipswich Events and Entertainment Centre will be a special achievement.

Patch has made immense contributions to the growth in Ipswich Cup attendances and supporting the club focus to become more appealing for both genders. A variety of special race days and non-racing events at the Bundamba venue have boosted community interest.

Patch has also had to deal with track concerns, always working hard to secure solutions.

While he stands up for what is required, Patch is also a positive and welcoming person.

WELCOME TO CITY: Patch focus on boosting profile

Before recent successes like the Ipswich Cup, Patch oversaw a reversal of club fortunes where some of the highest profits were restored after earlier financial issues.

The former St Edmund's College student joined the ITC board in 1990 having already been heavily involved in sport administration including membership on the Ipswich Jets board and with a keen interest in racing. But the turf club faced extraordinary challenges.

A former secretary was found to have embezzled $500,000, administrators were appointed and the talk was the club wasn't viable.

Patch was also appointed chairman in 2001 during the dreaded 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US.

However, he has since restored the turf club's reputation to being one of the most stable and progressive in Australia.

"I go to race meetings all over the country and everyone knows us,'' Patch said. "Once upon a time we were just another club. Now we're up in lights.

"It's good for the city, it's good for racing.''

While racing has been a major focus for the past 16 years, Patch has previous administrative ties with other sports. He was links to Ipswich tennis, was president of the Leichhardt Squash Club, served on the Ipswich Jets board and was a committee member with the Miners Social Golf Club.

Single-mindedly focused Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Single-mindedly focused Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch. Picture: Cordell Richardson

 

7. Paul Mantell (hockey)

THE Ipswich Hockey Association life member has enjoyed a productive and successful period strengthening the sport.

Mantell is highly professional in everything he does, working well with others and rarely getting flustered.

With wife and long-serving official Margret by his side, Paul has done much of his impressive work behind the scenes mainly in the crucial finance area.

He joined the Ipswich Hockey management committee in the mid to late '70's as Wests delegate.

After being assistant treasurer from 1985-91, he took on the treasurer role in 1992. He is in his 29th year performing that vital function.

Mantell was responsible for the financial undertakings in the sale of the old Association grounds at East Ipswich and subsequent purchase of the land at Briggs Road. He also oversaw all aspects of the development of the current Raceview complex clubhouse, including preparing submissions for government funding.

The quiet-achieving official received a Distinguished Service Award from Hockey Queensland in 2000.

He was a member of the Hockey Queensland Finance Committee for a number of years before being elected to the Hockey Queensland Board in 2015 as Finance Director. That is a position he still holds.

Mantell also played key roles in helping Ipswich host successful Test matches in the city between Australia and other leading hockey nations.

He was awarded Ipswich Hockey life membership in 2002.

The Paul Mantell Volunteer of the Year Award has been presented at Ipswich Hockey's annual awards since 2014, recognising others making a difference.

 

Paul Mantell with wife Margret (left) and another long-serving Ipswich Hockey official Heather Scott at the 2016 City of Ipswich Sports awards. Picture: Franca Tigani
Paul Mantell with wife Margret (left) and another long-serving Ipswich Hockey official Heather Scott at the 2016 City of Ipswich Sports awards. Picture: Franca Tigani

6. Margret Mantell (hockey)

PART of the inseparable Mantell husband and wife team, Margret continues to play a leading role in the future development of Ipswich hockey.

She's highly organised, ever helpful and focused on making a difference.

Since standing down as Ipswich Hockey Association club president in 2018, Margret has remained actively involved in all aspects of the sport through her current role as secretary and facility bookings co-ordinator.

Before her latest position, she fulfilled multiple roles on her way to taking over as association president in 2012.

Among those previous duties was association records secretary for 15 years.

The former primary school teacher played with the Wanderers, East Wanderers and Hancocks clubs before becoming secretary of the Ipswich Ladies Association in 1973.

STATE AWARDS: Ipswich recognised for achievements

With husband Paul as a long-time ally, Margret took over the presidency in 2012 from her father John.

But while learning from John's half century involvement, she forged her own style of leadership with her management team.

"We said at the start that no one would ever be able to fill John's shoes. A group of us did,'' Margret said.

"That's probably been the biggest difference. It took a group of us."

Margret has overseen significant progress at Ipswich Hockey's Raceview facility, including the addition of international standard lights and a new viewing terrace.

Among her accolades was being named Volunteer of the Year at the 2014/15 City of Ipswich Sports Awards. That came after Ipswich Hockey was named Association of the Year in 2013/14.

Under Margret's leadership, Ipswich has also been recognised many times by Hockey Queensland.

Former Ipswich Hockey Association president and current secretary Margret Mantell. Picture: Rob Williams
Former Ipswich Hockey Association president and current secretary Margret Mantell. Picture: Rob Williams

5. Sandy Savige (rugby league)

LOYAL Ipswich Jets supporter Savige is a classic example of commitment.

While the Savige family have backed the Jets for more than 20 years, Sandy has taken the lead.

With wife Carmel, Sandy arrived in the mid-1990s at a crucial time for Ipswich's premier rugby league organisation.

As QT rugby league columnist Michael Nunn recently highlighted in his Jets Buzz column, Sandy made significant sacrifices during some dark days for the Ipswich club.

He used all his business acumen and problem solving ability to help revive the Jets.

"I came on board in 1995. The club wasn't in a good way and some decisions hadn't worked out too well,'' Savige said. "There was no grant from the QRL in those days so it was do your best and we were on our knees.''

Savige remained chairman until 2015 and at the football club until 2006.

Current Jets chairman Steven Johnson said the role of the Savige family was unquestionable.

"It's simple. The Jets do not exist as a club if the Savige family don't selflessly take up the fight,'' Johnson said.

"Sandy and Carmel are a proud Ipswich family and they wouldn't just sit by and watch the Jets fall down.

"What a great example to our young men they are. You can't sit back and do nothing and then say wish Ipswich had a football team."

CLUB SAVIOUR: Savige family injected new life into Jets

Johnson marvelled at the time and effort required to be a chairman and volunteering time.

"Sandy was chairman of both clubs and CEO of the Football club, a massive job and drain on his family and his business,'' Johnson said.

"The QRL introduced a grant of $40,000 that had to be used to create the role of CEO and make it more professional.

"Sandy selflessly used the $40,000 to pay players and did the CEO role for free.

"Sandy would never admit it but he had a young family and a business and the time spent chairing the Jets football club and leagues club would have detracted from both of those very important parts of his life.''

The Savige family remains entrenched in taking the Jets forward.

"I said I had done my time (as an official) and was happy to be a naming rights sponsor so now Savige Pest Control are fulfilling that role and I am very happy with that involvement,'' Sandy said.

"We made some changes, like going back to the North Ipswich Reserve from Briggs Road and the Leagues Club development which was the old Hotel Cecil."

Former Ipswich Jets chairman and loyal sponsor Sandy Savige still commands attention at club functions and matches.
Former Ipswich Jets chairman and loyal sponsor Sandy Savige still commands attention at club functions and matches.

 

4. John Cushing (hockey)

STILL a familiar face watching hockey, Cushing was one of the longest-serving presidents in Ipswich sporting history.

With a no-nonsense approach to getting the job done, the former Ipswich City Alderman dedicated more than 50 years to club and representative hockey.

"Cusho'', as he's affectionally called, oversaw every aspect of the sport before handing over the presidency to this daughter Margret Mantell.

The life member served as an official, selector, coach, delegate and umpire for decades.

Apart from 35 years as association president, Ipswich-born Cushing was secretary for 18 years and fulfilled many roles at local and state level.

His highlights include overseeing the successful move in 1993 from East Ipswich to the current 30 acre hockey complex at Briggs Road. That followed the work of former president and Cushing's mentor Jack O'Brien.

The main turf field at Raceview was named after Cushing in 2001.

He was named Ipswich Citizen of the Year in 1991 and received an Order of Australia Medal in 1992.

EMOTIONAL FAREWELL: 'Cusho' retires with tear in his eye

Now in his 80s, Cushing still sits watching the sport in a favourite spot outside Ipswich Hockey's famous shed.

Asked if he would have done anything differently during his hockey career, Cushing calmly replied: "I don't think so".

However, the Tivoli resident displayed some emotion when he and wife Una were honoured at his retirement from official duty in 2012.

Cushing started as secretary in 1958 before taking over as president in 1976. He was named Ipswich Hockey life member in 1972. He has other life memberships with the Ipswich Umpires Association, Eastern Suburbs and Hockey Queensland.

Former Ipswich Hockey Association president John Cushing still enjoys watching the game after more than 50 years service. Picture: Rob Williams
Former Ipswich Hockey Association president John Cushing still enjoys watching the game after more than 50 years service. Picture: Rob Williams

 

3. Steve Johnson (rugby league)

AS an administrator, Johnson is top shelf. He promotes club harmony and builds bonds that last a lifetime.

The Ipswich Jets chairman has achieved tremendous results, always encouraging team spirit and welcoming important Indigenous footballers into his club environment.

Johnson is a huge supporter of community projects. However, for the past decade, he's injected himself into a new challenge as chief of the Western Corridor bid to obtain a future NRL licence.

His team has done incredible work highlighting why the western corridor is worthy of becoming the 17th team in the NRL competition.

While that relentless mission continues, Johnson can be proud of what the Jets have achieved.

The club chairman played a leading role in the Jets' memorable 2015 premiership double. It started with Ipswich's first state league grand final victory at Suncorp Stadium before knocking off the NSW champions Newcastle days later on NRL grand final day.

NRL BID: Dedicated chairman shares vision

Johnson started at the Jets in the 1990s, managing elite players. It didn't take long for Johnson to climb the official ladder, working with the Jets board and planning for the future. He joined club legend Sandy Savige, maintaining a positive role since.

"When we rebuilt the club at the end of 2010 we set out to create an environment where we developed good people knowing that footy would take care of itself from there,'' Johnson told QT rugby league columnist Michael Nunn. "And we could give back to Ipswich not just as an exciting 'no wrestle' footy team but a good citizen of our great city. We became the best side outside of the NRL off the back of our heart and soul.''

That includes working with top coaches like Ben and Shane Walker and past Jets CEOs.

"I chair the best rugby league club in the world and get to games and learn more about football from the Jets fans who know more about the game than I will ever know,'' Johnson said.

That sums up the humble but well credentialled man driving the region towards a deserved NRL team spot.

Ipswich Jets chairman and Western Corridor NRL bid chief Steve Johnson.
Ipswich Jets chairman and Western Corridor NRL bid chief Steve Johnson.

 

2. Pat Boyle (soccer)

"IT'S all for the children'' is one of high achiever Boyle's favourite sayings as he continues his incredible devotion to boosting regional football.

Providing quality sport for youngsters and developing a pathway is what the Western Pride FC general manager enjoys most.

Assisted by other respected regional football officials like former Socceroo Gary Wilkins and Kym Wickstein, Boyle is leading the city's bid for a future A-League licence.

Boyle has dedicated countless hours and his own finance to building an Ipswich-based club eager to serve the western corridor.

With a strong business background and a fantastic family spirit, Boyle wants nothing more than to develop regional footballers who want to play locally and pursue their elite goals.

Boyle knows what that requires having been a Coalstars footballer for a number of years, and serving as an Ipswich Knights assistant coach. He later shared in World Cup glory as an Australian indoor cricketer in masters competition.

DESERVED RECOGNITION: Boyle praises dedicated committee

Western Pride was formed in 2012 by a historic partnership driven by Football Ipswich, representing regional clubs.

Although only kicking off in the 2013 season, Western Pride FC has already created history with senior and youth teams winning or contesting state league grand finals.

Under Boyle's guidance, Western Pride has also been recognised widely for being a sporting organisation focused on the community.

"It's a collective. It's work done by all the clubs in Ipswich,'' Boyle said. "And the fantastic team we've got happening at Pride.''

Despite ongoing challenges, Boyle continues to oversee a focused goal of boosting Ipswich's football profile. That includes working with like-minded officials like Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson on pursuing better facilities for the city.

Tireless Western Pride general manager Pat Boyle. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Tireless Western Pride general manager Pat Boyle. Picture: Cordell Richardson

 

1. Brett Kitching (racing/soccer)

FROM a proud fifth generation Ipswich sporting family, Kitching is one of the city's most loyal officials.

Since being appointed Ipswich Turf Club general manager in 2004, he's lifted the club's profile to new heights, all with a wider regional focus through his time with the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce.

Kitching has formed an incredible sporting partnership with club chairman Wayne Patch, leading a progressive committee unafraid to try something new.

The massive growth of the Ipswich Cup has been a highlight, building on past efforts to attract crowds from 18,000 to a record-breaking 24,000 in 2011.

Kitching said maintaining strong attendances was the result of listening to the community, especially females and the younger generation.

Innovative approaches have made the Ipswich Cup Queensland's biggest and best social day of the year in racing. Who can forget attempting a world record wearing sunglasses at the Cup or creating a beach party in the middle of winter?

"There are people around the country that are looking at what you're doing with this race because you've got a reputation for doing something a little bit different each year,'' Kitching said, having attended every Ipswich Cup meeting since 1978.

Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching admires one of his favourite pieces in the Ipswich Racing Museum. Picture: David Lems
Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching admires one of his favourite pieces in the Ipswich Racing Museum. Picture: David Lems

Kitching is also proud of how the club has opened up the facility to more than racing. This includes supporting and promoting Legs (foot racing) and Eddies Day, Labour Day and the Spring Cup Day. There have also been off the track events such as The Gathering, Xmas Carols and a surge in non-racing functions.

Other milestones at the turf club included a 150th year celebration, reaffirming Ipswich's prominent position in sport.

Kitching also played a key role in the opening of Ipswich's Racing Museum at Bundamba. The museum has preserved some of the city's oldest and most important sporting moments dating back to the 1840s.

"Because we're going into the new world and an exciting new future, it would be nice to keep a memory of the past of Ipswich racing,'' Kitching said as the museum opened.

WORK ETHIC: Where Kitching's commitment comes from

Qualified accountant Kitching has always been amazing with numbers, an attribute showcased through his remarkable memory.

Over the past 16 years, he has overseen the turf club's financial stability after significant losses from 2002-2004.

He's also worked closely with Patch to secure funding for the Ipswich Events and Entertainment Centre about to become fully functional. This is part of the Racing Queensland Infrastructure project the club has fought hard to receive.

Apart from his passion for racing, Kitching is a former state league footballer with Ipswich United, St Helens and a brief stint in Townsville. He was part of a glory period for the city in the 1980s. His family bloodlines extend to international football.

He has a rich knowledge about most sport, that helps him wave the Ipswich flag often in the face of envy from Brisbane counterparts.

Asked once what drove him, he replied: "One is I have a real passion for the city. The second thing is probably the fear of failure.''

Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching always puts the city first, often in the face of doubters. Picture: Rob Williams
Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching always puts the city first, often in the face of doubters. Picture: Rob Williams


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