Passion for Queanbeyan region grass roots footy recognised by ARU

Bungendore Mudchooks rugby union club president Gary Cook has been nominated for the Australian Rugby Union's Volunteer of the Year award. Photo: Joshua Matic.

Bungendore Mudchooks rugby union club president Gary Cook has been nominated for the Australian Rugby Union's Volunteer of the Year award. Photo: Joshua Matic.

HE is one of the most committed people to grass roots football in the Queanbeyan region, and last week Bungendore Mudchooks president Gary Cook's efforts were recognised with an award nomination.

The Australian Rugby Union's Volunteer of the Year Award is aimed to encourage local volunteers in keeping the sport alive at the regional level, and Cook was nominated by Mudchooks associate and sponsor Rick Reeks.

Cook has been involved with the Mudchooks, Bungendore's local rugby union club that plays in the ACT and Monaro second division competition, for ten years now and has been the president for eight.

Reeks said he chose to nominate Cook because of the amount of time he commits to the club.

"He travels all over the country with his job, so how he fits it all in I don't know, but he deserves to be recognised," he said.

Cook has worked hard to improve and grow the Mudchooks over the years, including getting a team to the Darwin rugby sevens event and other interstate competitions, and has introduced many young players to rugby union.

He was flattered by the nomination for the award, and while being tight-lipped in talking himself up, he said his goal had always been to make the Mudchooks "a big part of the community" and this was the reason he may have been nominated.

"We put an emphasis on not just being a sporting team, but getting the community involved with us, and us becoming involved in the community and providing benefits back to them," said Cook.

"Every year we have a ladies day to raise money for local charities, we work with the Red Shield appeal every year, we encourage the Queanbeyan Whites to come out and play some of their junior games here, and we run barbecues with the local men's shed."

Cook said his club had a great relationship with town rugby league rivals the Bungendore Tigers too, working closely with their president Tony Rayner to hold joint events in Bungendore.

The Volunteer of the Year winner will be announced on October 24 at the ARU's John Eale medal ceremony.

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