Uncle Ritchie awarded for mentor role
IT WAS an honour that nobody deserved more but it was one he didn’t even see coming.
Ritchie Donovan, or Uncle Ritchie as so many know him as, was given a surprise this week when he was presented with a NSW Government Community Service Award at Scotts Head Public School, where he mentors young athletes.
Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey made the presentation but also on hand to make sure the surprise presentation went off without a hitch were Nambucca Valley Mayor Rhonda Hoban, long-time friend and athletics partner Allan Turner, as well as Donovan’s son Clayton.
School principal Gillian Stuart said she couldn’t think of anyone more deserving than Uncle Ritchie, who is known by all as a kind, considerate and gracious character.
“To honour Ritchie for who he is and what he is, it was just such a pleasure,” she said.
“He just does so much for so many people and is so unassuming. He’s a gentleman who really walks the talk.”
One of the treasures of the sporting, indigenous and community circles of the Nambucca, each year Ritchie runs the Outback Athletics camp for up to 40 indigenous students from across NSW.
The great Muhammad Ali once said champions “have to have the skill and the will but the will must be stronger than the skill”.
Those are words the renowned athletics coach has lived his life by and encouraged so many athletes to do likewise.
“He’s so passionate about discipline and tries really hard to instil it in the kids,” Mrs Stuart said.
“Discipline is looked upon as a negative thing by a lot of people, but Ritchie shows people the benefits that come from showing discipline and the success that can come from it,” she added.