HAVING spent the better part of a lifetime volunteering with the Orange District Football Association (ODFA), fanatic Bernie Stedman’s name will forever remain synonymous with the sport in Orange.
Mr Stedman will have the fenced off field at Sir Jack Brabham Park re-named in his honour after the ODFA approached Orange City Council in a bid to recognise one of the longest serving volunteers in the city.
Set to be named Stedman Field, the premier pitch in Orange has a pretty proud namesake following close to 60 years of service to the sport.
“It’s a great honour,” Mr Stedman said, “It’s a great field, too.
“I just enjoy seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces.
“I wouldn’t be involved if it weren’t for the kids. To see that they’ve got something to do and help bring along the young referees, that’s what I enjoy.”
Never one to seek the limelight, Mr Stedman says being honoured in such a way is recognition beyond his wildest dreams.
But having been part of the footballing landscape in Orange since lacing up the boots with the Wanderers Soccer Club and later the Email Rangers in the early 1950s, Mr Stedman’s dues are as well deserved as any.
“I think Bernie has been an instrumental part of the Orange District Football Association,” ODFA president Tony Mileto said, with Mr Stedman both a life member of the ODFA and the Orange Referees Association.
“As an association we thought it was due recognition for his contribution and achievement over the years that we name a field after him.”
Turning his hand to refereeing in 1980, Mr Stedman has served 30 years as a full-time referee, appointments officer, referees inspector and conducted referee classes.
“This a good way for council to recognise Bernie, especially with his refereeing,” Cr Jason Hamling said.
“Sports are finding it hard to get people to volunteer and Bernie has been doing it for 50 years,” Cr Whitton said.