EACH year the Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Awards pay tribute to a number of individuals who have gone above and beyond their civic duty to help others in the community.
Netball Queensland umpire and valued Queensland Catholic Netball Association life member Marie Semmens’ tireless work and dedication during many years of volunteering has been recognised with an Australia Day Achievement Award.
Marie said she was surprised to receive the news late last year.
“I received a letter from the Lord Mayor’s office in December and I wasn’t allowed to say anything until now,” she said.
“They had a Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Awards Presentation Ceremony and Reception at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre with lovely drinks and food.
“It was a really lovely function but it didn’t feel real because it’s usually me sitting there watching others receive things so I found it difficult to be called up to the stage.”
Marie’s love of umpiring has seen her spend countless hours at netball games, training sessions and events and whilst she doesn’t pick up a whistle as often as she used to, she said she still gets a kick out of training and mentoring potential umpires.
“I love the umpiring but I do like coaching umpires too and that’s where this award’s come from,” she said.
“I love every minute of what I do but get very annoyed when I see someone who’s got potential and they don’t go further as I’m not going to be here forever and we need these people coming through.
“I’m a bit one-eyed when it comes to umpires and excited an umpire has received an accolade because it’s often the players who are recognised.”
As for being an Australian, Marie said she couldn’t be more parochial.
“I love being an Aussie and to receive an Australia Day Award blows me away as it’s not something I ever expected or thought about,” she said.
“It makes me quite proud to think I have helped lots of people.”