Meet Terry Derham, a man who has dedicated 32 years of his life to volunteering for St Mary’s.
Terry’s journey began in 1991 when his two eldest boys, Brett and Matt, expressed an interest in playing footy. Despite juggling a busy schedule with work, part-time study and four kids, Terry found time to give back to the club.
On the first day Terry arrived, the tackers coach Ross Carlson introduced himself and immediately asked Terry to be team manager. He had no idea what it entailed but happily agreed and did the job for the next 3 years before taking on his next challenge – coaching.
Despite never having played footy himself (his kids get their sporting skills from his wife Maree) he stepped up and coached his son’s Brett’s team when no other parent would, studying books and videos to improve his skills and knowledge. In just his second year of coaching, the team made finals. Although ever humble Terry insists it’s only because he promised they could throw him in the Plenty River if they made it. They made it and Terry can now say he’s been thrown in the Plenty River!
When his son Shane, now known as ‘Glove’, started tackers they also needed a coach and it’s no surprise Terry put up his hand to help. Terry loved these Friday’s as after training he’d open the bar and encourage the players and parents to socialise. According to Terry, mothers would be ringing at 8pm asking where their husband and son were!
“It was a great way to break down barriers to volunteering. When you form connections and friendships with people at the club, it become much easier to encourage them to get involved and contribute,” shared Terry.
Terry’s commitment to the Junior Club only continued to grow as he joined the committee. His hard work and dedication at the Junior Club were recognised when he was awarded Life Membership in 2003, along with his wife Maree, who he says he “couldn’t do any of this” without.
However, Terry’s volunteer work didn’t end after 18 years with the junior club. He was also instrumental in creating the senior club, serving as our first secretary and thus a founding committee member. This meant that his eldest son Brett, who had to go elsewhere to play senior footy could come back to St Mary’s and his daughter Clare could become more involved as part of the netball team.
In 2010 he became the first Senior Team Manager and then the Reserves team Manager two months later, a role he has held for 13 years (and counting) with a little bit of time off. He was the Team manager of the successful Reserves Teams that won three three premierships in a row!
Of course, we also must mention the famous ‘Turtle Time’. Terry collects any belongings left behind each week and in Covid-19 his pet turtle Ninja started posing with the items, giving everyone a smile and a laugh during a difficult time. It’s been so popular that it continues today!
Terry’s commitment has not waned over the years, and his passion for the club has clearly been passed down to his children, with his daughter still playing netball and his son Shane still playing footy. Terry also can’t wait for his grandkids to start Auskick in the next few years!
As for what keeps him going, it’s the incredible people that are part of our community.
“I love the club and the people. It’s been part of my life for 30 years now and I can’t imagine not being part of it.”
“Seeing the kids grow up and develop their skills and great friendships and being part of that process is really special. It’s why we all need to volunteer; it’s for our kids. If we don’t do it, they won’t have these fantastic clubs and communities to grow up around.”
“But it’s the people that keeps me coming back. I’ve made so many friends through volunteering and I feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself. That’s what it’s all about.”
Terry is an integral part of our community and his positive attitude and unwavering commitment have earned him the respect of everyone who knows him.
Terry’s story is a reminder of the vital role that volunteers play in community clubs. As Terry continued to give back, we can all follow his example and strive to make a difference in our St Mary’s community and make a lasting impact on the world around us.