2024 Community Volunteer and Sporting Awards Winners Announced

Published on Wednesday, 5 June 2024 at 9:02:29 PM

The Australia-wide Volunteer Week may have ended, but the Shire of Exmouth is extending the celebrations with their fifth annual Community Volunteer and Sporting Awards. The ceremony recognises the contribution of volunteers in all community areas, with awards presented in seven categories. 

Community members, organisations and sporting clubs nominated volunteers and high-achieving sportspeople from the Exmouth community to honour at the awards ceremony, with a panel of judges determining the winners in each category. With 36 nominees and 44 nominations received, the awards showcased our volunteers' and athletes' dedication and commitment to personal and community-wide excellence.

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries supported the awards evening through the Every Club program; individual awards were supported by Woodside & Mitsui EP, Raytheon, and Santos; and the Shire of Exmouth sponsored the event.


  • Woodside Volunteer of the Year — Matthew Thorburn for his role as club president of the Exmouth Eagles Football Club
  • DLGSC Young Volunteer of the Year— Sophie Ayres for her role as Secretary for the Exmouth Eagles Football Club and leadership in the newly formed ladies AFL football team EGALS
  • Shire of Exmouth Exceptional Service Award— Brian Deering for his 45-year tenure with the Exmouth Golf Club
  • Santos Committee Member of the Year— Kieran Hollis for his leadership within Exmouth Touch Football
  • Sports Star of the Year— Riley Watkins for his achievements with the Exmouth Kart Club
  • Association or Club of the Year— Exmouth Volunteer Rescue for their commitment to exceptional marine safety practices and awareness
  • Raytheon Australia Event of the Year—  Exmouth Golf Club for the Ladies Pilbaras Open Event 2023


"The volunteers of Exmouth are the backbone of our community. They're not always front and centre, which is why the Shire of Exmouth Community Volunteer and Sporting Awards are such a special tradition and a great way to highlight the community members who do so much for the town." 

"Congratulations to the winners and nominees whose valuable contributions have positively impacted everyone who lives in and visits our remote community."


Woodside Volunteer of the Year — Matthew Thorburn

Micro spends countless hours volunteering to make our community football club operate successfully. He attends club training provided by the shire to ensure he can fulfill his role as club president to the best of his ability.

DLGSC Young Volunteer of the Year— Sophie Ayres

Sophie has taken on the role of Secretary for the Exmouth Eagles Football Club and, prior to this, has been a leader for the newly formed ladies' AFL football team EGALS. Her motivating and organisational skills are exceptional, and she is always willing to help when a volunteer is needed. The ideas Sophie brings to the table are new and valuable to bringing the club and community together. Her contributions pave the way for the future of the club and women's football.

Shire of Exmouth Exceptional Service Award— Brian Deering

Brian Deering is the type of long-term member all clubs need in Exmouth. His actions speak louder than words. He has been a member of the Exmouth Golf Club since 1982 and, for the duration of this time (45 years), has maintained all the golf club equipment. He spends endless hours on course maintenance, reticulation repairs, mowing the fairways, tee-box preparation and still attends many busy bees to improve the course facilities. During a major extension project to the clubhouse in 1996, Brian was there for busy bees each weekend over an extended period. 

As a Foundation member of the Exmouth Volunteer Marine Rescue Service, Brian has been an active member until 2023 (42 years) as skipper or crew member for numerous rescues. He has dedicated numerous hours fulfilling shifts as a radio operator, always putting the safety of others first. From 1981-83, Brian spent one year as the President of the Exmouth Amateur Swimming Club and two years as a support member. He was a member of the Exmouth Tennis Club and one of the volunteers who built the current clubhouse in the early 2000s. In 1999, Brian supported SES during Cyclone Vance.

Brian was also a member of the Exmouth Tennis Club and was one of the volunteers that built the current clubhouse in the early 2000s. 

Brian epitomises true blue dedication, a strong work ethic, selfless community spirit, a cheeky sense of humour and is highly regarded by the clubs he has contributed to – he is who an Exceptional Service Award was created for!

Santos Committee Member of the Year— Kieran Hollis

Kieran has been an exemplary member of our committee since our association's inception. He has demonstrated outstanding leadership, dedication and innovation in his role. His meticulous attention to detail and strong organisational skills have strengthened our club beyond measure. Kieran has been a leading figure in fostering a positive, inclusive and supportive club culture. He and his family will be sorely missed next season.

Sports Star of the Year— Riley Watkins

Riley Watkins is our most widely travelled regional competitive member of Exmouth Kart Club. In the past 12 months, Riley and his support crew have travelled nearly 25,000km by road for him to compete at eight race meets around WA and two in the Northern Territory, where he will often compete in 10 races in a day. 

Riley's achievements in 2023 have included Northern Zone Series 2023(State Events):

  • 1st place in the North West Light Class at all four rounds, which provided him the Series Title. This is his 3rd year in a row being crowned Northern Zone Series Champion in his class. 
  • 5th WA State Championships 2023 Final in KA3 Senior Light
  • 4th Round 2 WA Kart Series at Midwest Kart Club 2023 
  • 2nd Territory Cup at Darwin Karting Association 2023 
  • 3rd Day 1 NT Kart Championship 2023 
  • 5th Day 1 of Round 3 WA Kart Series at Midwest Kart Club 2024 
  • 2nd Day 2 of R3 WA Kart Series at Midwest Kart Club 2024 
  • 1st Northwest Championship 2024 Rd1 at Karratha Kart Club 
  • 1st Northwest Kart Championship 2024 Rd2 at Impala Kart Club (Tom Price) 
  • Top 10 at all other Race meetings throughout 2023-2024

Riley is very respectful of everyone: club members, competitors, parents and officials. If you can't find him at his pit area at a race meet, you just need to start looking for the younger racers, and that's where you will find him, sharing advice about kart set-up and his racing knowledge. Riley has become their idol/role model, not only in our close-knit karting community in the Pilbara, but now has several young Perth-based Karters seeking him out to talk to and help them with their karting journey. Through all this, he has maintained his grades whilst completing years 11 and 12 and is able to juggle his casual employment, too. It is a credit to him, and we thoroughly believe he is a worthy recipient of the Sports Star of the Year Award.

Association or Club of the Year— Exmouth Volunteer Rescue

  • Exceptional member attraction and retention over 45 years, 13 life members, 8 new (2024) 
  • Promotes inclusive environment 16/37 active members being female 
  • Practices community engagement, e.g. school children competition to name new vessel, assisting other clubs e.g. GAMEX, and providing support to other club events e.g. SES open day 
  • Successfully hosting historically the largest collaborative inter-agency Search and Rescue Exercise in Exmouth 7th-10 March 
  • Providing 24/7 emergency support to the 1019 recreational vessels registered in Exmouth, 3343 additional registered vessels in the local area, and infinite numbers of visitors (WA boat regos 103,153) 
  • A dedicated team continuously training and working towards exceptional marine safety practices and awareness

Raytheon Australia Event of the Year—  Exmouth Golf Club-Ladies Pilbara Open Event 2023

Every 3-4 years, Exmouth Golf Club has the opportunity to host the annual Ladies Pilbara Open event. Last year, over the weekend of 28-30 July, 51 golfers from all over the state converged on Exmouth for the 2023 event. The Ladies Only golf tournament is a great way for golfers in our region to travel to compete against each other and challenge themselves on different types of courses. Exmouth has a small but strong contingent of ladies in their club. Whilst they all relish playing in the combined competition each week with the men, it is great to have the focus on Women in golf, for events like this. 

Captain Bron Giles, as the first female captain of the club in its 55-year history, was very pleased with the event's success. Bron invested considerable time, energy and effort into planning for it and is a strong supporter, travelling to attend other regional towns each year to represent Exmouth. "All of the female members of the Pilbara clubs look forward to this annual event, it is run differently to all other golf events in the Pilbara and it focuses on the ladies." There was plenty of fun to be had off the course as well, with Saturday night's 'Australiana' themed evening supported by all the players. Everyone got into the theme, with players creating some very special costumes. There were plenty of laughs had by all who attended, with the ladies having fun, connecting and playing competitive golf over the weekend. Every player was able to purchase (at a discounted price) a uniquely designed whale shark-themed shirt, which promoted Exmouth and the club. The club believes it was one of the best-sized fields ever assembled for a ladies-only event in the Pilbara and all the players feedback was very positive.

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Sandra Flint, Coordinator Communications, Shire of Exmouth
M: 0459 431 439 | E: sflint@exmouth.wa.gov.au

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