By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
YEARS of hard work in the AFL community have paid off for Jill Woodlock after finally being recognised for her efforts.
Since 1988, Woodlock has worked tirelessly for both the junior and senior AFL competitions on the North Coast and on Monday she was rewarded by her employer, Australia Post, at a special awards ceremony held during the Sydney Swans' visit on their Premiership Cup tour.
"I'm very honoured to receive the award," she admitted.
"I'm very proud to have played a pivotal part in the growth of AFL in the area."
And grown it has.
When a junior AFL program commenced in 1990, Woodlock and a small group of hardy souls were working with nothing more than a passion for the sport and limited participation numbers.
During the season just finished, those numbers had grown to more than 900.
During her acceptance speech, Woodlock was quite modest in explaining her commitment to local AFL.
"When your husband is an AFL fanatic, it's a matter of getting involved or finding a new life partner," she joked.
"It all started with a small group of 'Mexicans' and I think from the time it started I would've washed about 3000 football jumpers and the same amount of shorts and socks as well as cooked 3000 sausage sandwiches."
For her efforts, the largest prizes that Woodlock received were the opportunity to donate $1000 to the community group of her choice as well as the chance to run a leg of the Queen's Baton Relay in Canberra prior to next year's Commonwealth Games.
The award winner has also been heavily involved with sport in the area through her roles at COFFSAC, as a volunteer with the local Sports Unit and also as the co-ordinator of the AFL competition during the Eastern University Games when they were held in Coffs Harbour.
When David Ife, the North Coast Regional Manager of Australia Post announced Woodlock as a recipient of the Australia Post Community Award at the start of the week, he admitted that it would be difficult to find a more deserving candidate.
"Jill is a prime example of someone who deserves this award," he said. "It's our aim at Australia Post to reward staff who put their time into community work and acknowledge their contributions."