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WPFC Life Member Bios

John Britten - Life Member

John Britten’s journey with West Perth all began at a timber mill out the back of Bridgetown in the Lower Southwest of WA.
My dad ……. ran the Donnelly River Mill, which was owned by the Bunning Brothers.
Dad loved his footy, especially West Perth and Fitzroy. To travel from the mill to Perth in the fifties and sixties was a long haul, I remember as a kid I used to count the miles down on the road posts.
In 1969 mum dad and I travelled to Perth for the grand final and I vividly remember as a 23-year-old, sitting in the middle tier of the new 3 tier stand watching Laurie Richards marking up where the planes travel!
The timber industry was not going too well, mills were closing and so in 1972 Pauline and I decided to move to Perth and start a life of our own.
I went to as many Cardie games as I could to watch. In 1976 or maybe 1977, I met a bloke named Dave Arthur, who introduced me to Bill Spittles, who then introduced me to “statistics”, the rest is history.
Graham Campbell was our coach and apart from kicks, handballs, goals, and points, he asked for much more detail, like who won the ball from the centre, was it by foot or by hand, was it effective or not! We could not handle the worked required, so Dom and Joe Cosoleto, Steve Wheatley and John Jarvis joined the team to handle all this additional information that the coaching staff wanted. After every game the stats were added up and handed in to the coaches. It wasn’t always easy [especially at Leederville] to get into the changerooms, the “doorman” Darryl Wilson was very strong on who to let in or not! We were ok, we had the stat sheets that the coaches wanted, although there were always peering eyes over our shoulders from the boys to see if they could see if they had a good day or not.
In 1992 Jeff Gieschen arrived as coach and if us boys thought we had enough to do with what Graham had given us, think again. A sheet was devised with the oval, centre square and the forward and back 50metre arc. From this Jeff required numerous things, which kept one boy very busy, head down bum up.
I finished my time at the end of the year 2000. It was an eye opener to meet so many coaches, players, and board members, who were and still are always open for a chat, this is probably the main reason why West Perth is such a successful club. I am very grateful that the club saw fit to award me life membership in 2021.
We met many, many, people during our time at the club. I feel very, very, honored and I still catch up with Bill and Dom at the footy, it is so good to see some of those old faces still coming along to see the boys pull on the red and blue jumpers in 2023.
I lost my brother Steve Wheatley in 2011. Football today seems to me to be totally different to yesteryear when it was man on man. I used to love the duels between Whinnen and Sorrell for example, but today’s game leaves me scratching my head and I doubt very much if we will ever see the high-flying Laurie Richards type ever again, which is a great shame, the game needs that type of player.

Dustin Burns - Player & Life Member

Dustin Burns finished school in country Victoria, then moved to Wodonga to complete a sports coaching course. He became great mates with James Harris, brother of Darren Harris.  Dustin played two years for the Wodonga Raiders (Harro's old team) and that is when Darren convinced Dustin to come over to Perth for a crack at the WAFL. Dustin moved over to Perth at the start of the 2003 season. He was blown away with how talented the playing group was. His first training session was on Buzzy Fewster, and he could not believe the size of him. He had big doubts if he would get a kick playing against guys like Buzz.
West Perth had a sensational group of younger guys when I first moved to WA, and initially I spent a lot of time with Jas and Adam Sala, Matty Guadagnin, Anthony Tslakis, Mitch Leithhead, Daniel Halloway, Dylan Eiffler, Blake Arnold, Dizzy Fleay, Dave Crossland, Regan Duckworth, Cameron Branch, Michael Taylor and Joshy Pearce.
I look back very fondly on my time playing for West Perth.  I was lucky enough to win a Breckler medal in 2010 after coming back from an injury year in 2009, I polled 110 votes to edge out midfielder Ray Bartholomew on 98 and captain Jason Salecic on 93 for the award. Also am proud to say l won a couple of Best Clubman awards but creating lifetime mates is my highlight of my time at West Perth. Unfortunately, I was not involved any team success during my time at West Perth.  I got dropped in the finals of '03 and I didn't play in a winning final for the Falcons.
I loved how passionate the Falcons supporters are, and without a doubt they are the greatest supporters of our club, l have seen.  While playing they were sensational and even now, walking around the ground or upstairs after games there are so many happy and familiar faces that love a chat.  It truly is the biggest source of what makes the place so great.
The person I have the greatest respect for and who helped me tremendously over my time at the club was Todd Curley.  Firstly, playing alongside Todd and then being coached by him.  He even convinced the admin at Edith Cowan Uni to get me into a teaching course after I missed the application deadline.  Not sure I would have lasted long in WA if that didn't happen.  He was a great source of knowledge, and I loved the way he played and coached.  He is such a terrific bloke too.
I played in Baldivis for two seasons after West Perth.  Played alongside some former Falcons in the Radici brothers, Dylan Eiffler, Blake Arnold, Sam Palm, Josh Pearce and Tim Guatta. Went to Wanneroo after that for 3 years.  Loved it there. Won the Best and Fairest in 2015 and 2016 and then we won the B grade premiership in 2017.  Blake Arnold, Brayden Duckworth, Marc Crisp, Tim Guatta, Cameron Branch, Stephen Healey were all former falcons playing there too.  
Tried to play a couple of seasons out at York with Matt Gaudagnin after that but I pulled more hamstrings than I got kicks.
Being a life member is a terrific honour and I still love getting down to watch the Falcons in action.  I am coaching my two sons in their junior footy, Jimmy (9) and Ted (6), my sons, play at Kingsley Junior football Club.  I coach their teams and they absolutely love it.  In Subiaco zone however so might need to use their Nana's address in a few years’ time!!
I will always follow the team and feel connected to the club even though only a couple of players remain from my playing days. 
172 Games West Perth
Breckler Medal 2010
Played 10 years, (2003 – 2012)
Life Member 2011

WILLIAM (BILL) DE GRUCHY - Player & Life Member

Born 10th May 1930, to William Reginald and Ruth Maisie (nee Laker) De Gruchy. One of eight siblings. Attended St. Mary’s convent primary school, Leederville before progressing to St. Patrick’s Boys School, Perth for Secondary education. It was here that one of the Brothers encouraged Bill to practice his athletics, particularly running in 1941. Won school running championship that year in both under 12 and under 13, at the age of 11.
The De Gruchy’s lived in Mt. Hawthorn and Bill supported West Perth from his earliest memories. As a kid he helped the ladies at player teas on Thursday nights and sold lollies at home games during the half time breaks.
He played football for 2 seasons with Mt. Hawthorn Metropolitan juniors.
Before his distinguished career as fitness coach at West Perth his running ability gained him selection for Australia in the 1950 Commonwealth Games in Auckland NZ. Here he excelled himself by finishing second in 100 yards men’s final, fourth in 220 yards men’s semi-final. He then, as a member of the 4 x 100 yards relay final won a gold medal.
In the national competition he finished second in both 100 and 220 yards final in 1949-1950, first (in 9.8 seconds) in the 100 yards final in 1950-1951.
He also finished second in the 220 yards final. In 1951-1952 he finished third in 100 yards and second in 220 yards finals. In 1953-1954 and 1954-1955 he finished third in both finals.
In 1950 and 1955 he was a member of the winning W.A. 4 x 100 yards relay final in 41.8 and 42.5 seconds respectively.
Because of his times in 1949 to 1951 he qualified for the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland. He was however overlooked with spots going to eastern state runners whose times were slower than Bills. (Nothing has changed to this day.)
He was appointed as fitness coordinator in 1931 under coach Arthur Oliver. He held this position for many years.
Whilst he worked the players hard to get their fitness levels up he was well respected as a person and a valuable member of the Club. He was at the Club for Premierships won in 1951, 1960, 1969, 1971 and 1975. For his efforts over a long period he was awarded Life Membership of the  West Perth Football Club.
After his stint at West Perth he continued umpiring in the country and Sunday football competitions.
His all-time favourite footballers include John Loughridge, Fred Buttsworth, Ray Scott, Ray Schofield, Bill Dempsey and Mel Whinnen. His favourite memories are the 1951 Premiership ( Both League and Reserves.) and the other premiership years 1960, 1969, 1971 and 1975.
He is the father to two sons and two daughters. Unfortunately, one daughter passed away as a baby. He also has 6 Grandchildren and 6 Great Grandchildren, spread around the world.
His son Mark played at West Perth and was a colts medalist. His other son Paul played many games for Scarborough in the WA Amateur Competition. His daughter Marie was an athlete and a netballer.
He still follows West Perth but finds it difficult to get to games at age 92. He resides in Mercy Care in Joondalup and has visits from some former team players.
Ray Garcia - Life Member
Was always going to be a lifelong West Perth supporter living in Shakespeare Street Mt. Hawthorn as a kid. Football was like a religion in Ray’s home and he started to go to the football as a 10 year old in 1959 with his father Syd and see West Perth games at Leederville Oval. Syd was a Barber in Oxford Street and used to give many West Perth champions a short back and sides haircut.
As a 10 -year- old Ray used to go down to Leederville Oval on a Sunday Morning and help the legendary Property man Syd Gardiner hang out the football jumpers. It was then that Ray got the idea of looking after the club’s playing gear..
Ray grew up in Mt. Hawthorn with Stephen Smeath, Bill Valli, Ian Logan, Alan Watling and Laurie Richards surrounding him.
As a youngster Ray loved watching Brian France, Brian Foley, Don Marinko, Ross Ayre, Peter Medhurst  and Keith London to name a few players.Being a friend of Jim DiCarlo, Jim invited Ray to be the runner for the West Perth colts. He did play a couple of games of colts under coach Tom James. He was runner for 5 years. He then became Manager of the colts.It was 12 years ago that Ray took over the Property Manager role that he loves dearly and especially during the premiership years of 1995, 2003, 2013 and 2022.Ray spends just about every day of his life at the Football club during pre -season and winter. Ray’s family are now used to it. He loads the players’ playing gear into the club’s van on a Friday for the away games and returns all gear on a Monday morning. He also loves pumping up 60 footballs every weekend.
Ray was a very popular choice for life membership in 2021.
He considers West Perth a united family club, enjoys meeting people in and around the club and absolutely loves being part of it.He enjoys a coffee regularly with Dennis Cometti, Bill Monaghan, Shane Sheridan and Jim DiCarlo.
Ray stands as a wonderful contributor to our great club.
Darrell Kent - Life Member
My Dad lived in Bruce Street Leederville, the street that runs next to the Re-Store. He went to CBC Leederville and was married in Saint Mary’s church. I was baptized by Father Foley, the brother of West Perth Legend and Sandover Medalist Brian, so it was almost pre-ordained that I was going to be a West Perth supporter. Our family moved to Northam when I was ten months old, but I still remember walking with him to watch the Cardinals play at Leederville whenever we went back to Perth to visit his mother. I took Dad, and my son, to the last game at Leederville and the first at Joondalup so in a way the cycle has continued. It would have been great if Dad had still been around when I was given Life Membership of the West Perth Football Club.
I became a member of the WPFC in the early 1990’s. I paid for my son’s membership at the time as well and he has been a member since he was seven or eight. We attended the 1995 Grand Final together and went back to Joondalup after to celebrate. He went and got the program signed by all players and gave it back to me framed thirty-two years later for my 60th. There are so many great memories associated with West Perth. I am more than lucky to have been hugely supported by my partner, Belinda Taylor, who has taken game day photos for fifteen years. Her photos have been used online, to produce books and premiership memorabilia and she has provided players, and the parents of players, with photos of their career, first games and last games.
My involvement at West Perth has been varied, to say the least. I was initially asked to be involved by Phil Hanna and Murray Leeder. This was in the early 2000’s as Secretary and then President of the Cardinals Club. This group contributed nearly $20,000 to the WPFC in its four-year existence. In the mid 2000’s I was asked by the then CEO, Ken Torrance, to do a match report for each game. I started in 2005 and wrote my 325th report for the 2022 Grand Final. I was the Board Secretary for several Boards, on and off, for a twelve-year period. Through Steve Trewhella I became heavily involved in the repairing of historical photos and memorabilia to highlight the history of the football club. I was also responsible for the framing of the photos over the Sandover Medalist Bar. The five frames showing all the players who played VFL/AFL football and West Perth were also done by me and Belinda Taylor. It wouldn’t have been possible without the research and support of the then Football Manager, Steve Trewhella. His interest in the history of the WPFC and the efforts of the Heritage Committee, led by Russell Ellen, is responsible for the great display in the member’s area.
During my time at West Perth, I have been fortunate to develop friendships with several people. This includes current and past players, Board members and supporters. One of the great things about game day is the number of people that you can say hello to and chat with. The WPFC is all about relationships and that is what makes it a great place to attend. The involvement of Belinda, my son and Father only add to what has been a great experience. There are too many people to mention anyone specifically. I have also been fortunate enough to attend the West Perth Coffee Club every second Monday. When you walk into a room and get to talk to the likes of Bill Dempsey and Mel Whinnen, to name a few, you can’t help but want to do what you can to support the Falcons. Terry Stokesbury does a great job of coordinating this group whose history is a key plank of West Perth.
I still attend most games in a season. The only time I will miss is if we are away somewhere. Even though I don’t have any direct involvement, now, I still work with Belinda sorting the thousands of weekly photos that are put into individual players files and online.
The people in West Perth are what the Club is all about. The occasional premiership isn’t bad either.
Callum Chambers – Player Life Member  - 2021                     
Callum Chambers, born 19 November 1979, first played football at West Perth in 1998 being an interstate draftee to the West Coast Eagles. I was given the choice of Swan Districts and West Perth. After visiting the club and meeting John Dimmer it was an easy choice to make. My career starter when l was recruited as the number 13 draft pick in the 1997 AFL Draft from Lucknow, Gippsland, Victoria. My first game with the West Coast Eagles was in Round 10, 2000 against Hawthorn. Ken Judge was coach in 2000, this marked the first time in a decade without Mick Malthouse as coach as well as the first time since 1989 that West Coast missed the finals.
West Coast was a bottom team during the 2001–02 seasons. Wins were very rare, l was able to play 54 games over 5 years.
My WAFL club was East Perth during 2000 and 2001 and then after that affiliation ended, l was connected with West Perth from 2002 to 2004.
Playing in the West Perth 2003 Premiership was a memorable highlight and then playing 100 games for the club as well as being awarded Life Membership will be my outstanding achievements.
I was traded to the Carlton Football Club at the end of the 2004 season, which was my fittest year, being the fastest player over long distances in the history of the club. I had a great start to the season helping to win the 2005 Pre-Season premiership. However, my form faded away during the season and only played 6 games. I played mostly for the Northern Bullant’s and was delisted at the end of the 2006 season.
In 2007 I returned to West Perth and played for another 4 years. In 2008 l had an excellent season and finished second for the Sandover Medal, two votes behind Peel's Hayden Ballantyne.
In 2011, l left West Perth with great friends and memories, probably the team-mates I have most contact with are Brent Lecras, Dan Hunt, Kim Rigoll and Snowy Morgan. Through social media groups, it has been great to have regular contact with quite a lot of past players.
After West Perth l played at Cervantes Football Club in the Central Midlands Coastal Football League; l was lucky enough to win a premiership there in 2015.
I am not sure who nominated me as a life member, but I was thrilled to be presented with my life membership.
The beauty about West Perth is that you could name about 15 people at the club who I admire. People like Vic Carbone and Darren Harris spring to mind, for the simple fact they both have an amazing knack for bringing people together.
Ross Kelly - Player - Club Patron - Life Member
I was born on the 9th of March 1938. My father, William (Bill) Kelly, played 46 games for West Perth from 1923 to 1927 – alongside notables such as Jim Craig, Harold Boyd, Jim Gosnell and Jack (“Fat”) McDiarmid. My earliest memories are, as a four-year-old (and with my father away at the war), being taken to Leederville Oval by my mother and grandmother to cheer on my favourite player at that time, Sandover Medalist, Ted “Checker” O’Keefe.  The reality is, I’ve been a Cardie (now Falcon) supporter since birth.

After he was discharged from the Royal Australian Air Force in 1946, my father took me to watch West Perth. My memories are that until I started to play junior football at the age of thirteen (13), we went to virtually every game that West Perth played.

I did my secondary schooling at Perth Modern School and elected to play “out of school football” with my school mates. As a result I played most of my junior football in the East Perth area – firstly Under 16’s  at Inglewood Junior Football Club and then Metropolitan Juniors with Maylands – Inglewood. At the age of 19, l played a year of Amateurs with Collegians.

Early in 1958, I received a surprise visit from West Perth’s Vice President, Colin Cavanagh, who invited me to train with the Club. I was even more surprised (and of course delighted) to be selected to  play the first league game of the year and after playing the first eleven (11) league games, to be selected in the Western Australian state team to play in the Centenary Carnival being held in Melbourne. The year was also memorable for my coming 5th in the Sandover Medal. In 1959 we finished 5th; Brian (Blue) Foley won the Sandover Medal by 10 votes and l came 6th in it.  1960 was my most memorable football year – West Perth won the Premiership against East Perth by 32 points and I was runner - up to Peter Medhurst in the Breckler Medal.

 During a playing career at West Perth spanning 1958 to 1965, (but excluding the 1961 season which I missed because I was studying in England), I played 132 league games; one seconds game and 10 games for Western Australia. Due to work commitments, I stopped playing football at the age of 27.

In 1968, I was invited to join the WPFC Committee and spent the year as a member of the Selection Committee. In 1969, work got in the way of my football again, so l didn’t stand for re – election due to working out of Perth. My work took me, my wife and 3 young daughters to live and work in Indonesia, then in Singapore and eventually in Melbourne.

After a number of years living away, we returned to WA and in February 1994, I was appointed Inaugural Chairman of the Fremantle Dockers – a position that I held until the end of August 1998.

In 2002 I became a Commissioner of the West Australian Football Commission. In my 8 years in this capacity, I retained my West Perth membership and contrived to spend an inordinate amount of time at fixtures involving West Perth.

In 2018 I again joined the Board of the Club as Vice President and retained this position until standing down in the first quarter of 2020. I was made a Life Member in 2021 and my wife, Leith, and I were invited to become joint patrons in July 2022.

Clearly football – and especially the Falcons – has been a major part in my life. Needless to say I will continue to support the Falcons and help them in any way that I can, for as long as I am able.

Ian Logan – Player - Life Member 
As a kid I started playing football with the Cardinals Under 12’s at Menzies Park, Mt Hawthorn, in the 1950’s. I played with the likes of Bill Valli and Syd LeKong. I have a photo of our team with my father (Joe who was President), Ron Smeath (Vice President and father of Stephen) and Mr. Gartrell (father of Ray). Through my time at the Junior club, l met some great stars of the future, like Alan Watling and John Wynne. One game I remember vividly was against Mt Hawthorn, where we won by 39 goals and both Bill and Syd kicked 13 goals each. One of our opponents in that game was my very good friend Ross Prunster.
Mt Hawthorn’s main adversary was the West Perth team, who had players that I ended up playing with at Perth Modern School, like Alexey Kotovski, Bob Height, and Bruce Cox. I enjoyed the mate ship through the football and hold great memories of the school football days. Some of the great players were Brian Appleby, Rod Croxford, and Graeme Hadley.                                                                                                                       
My dream was to play for West Perth, I missed the entire 1971 Season because of a shoulder reconstruction. The year was more memorable as l got married to my darling Helen (late wife) and graduated from the Claremont Teacher’s College. I was lucky enough to coach over twenty-five school teams over my 50 years of teaching.                                                                                        
I played my first league game with West Perth on 6th May 1972. The game that set me up to play league football happened in the reserves-scratch-match that year. I caught the eye of Peter Steward the coach, he is one hell-of-a-nice-guy. I kept my place in the seniors for the rest of the year. In 1973 we lost to Subiaco, who had not won a premiership for close to 50 years, unfortunately for us it was their day. It did not help us having our ‘gun’ full forward Phil Smith out with injury (now deceased). I remember Dick Manning absolutely caned me, and I was replaced early in the match.   
In 1974, under coach Dennis Jones, we won only four games. However, the Premiership in 1975 under the guidance of Graeme Campbell was one of my most memorable games. It was the largest crowd to that date, largest winning margin and Barry Day kicked 7 in the last quarter. I was named in the top four best players (played on Maurice Rioli). Standout memories were Leon O’dwyer doing a victory celebration in the third quarter, Smeath and Watling doing a fore-runner to modern-day football, 16yr-old Geoff Hendricks playing Centre-half-back, plus having the privilege of playing alongside the legendary Mel Whinnen and Bill Dempsey. In fact, I believe l became a good wingman, because I played alongside possibly the best footballer and gentleman ever, Mel Whinnen. Plus, the opportunity that Percy Johnson our coach in 1978, asked me to play in the middle at centre-bouncedowns.
In 1976 l won the Breckler Medal, I was leading the count in the Sandover Medal at the end of the first round. They should have stopped the count.
I was the first emergency (unofficial second runner for Graeme Farmer and Hassa Mann) in the victorious, inaugural State of Origin game at Subiaco Oval, 1977.                                                                                                                                                                    
I suffered some nagging ankle problems in 1981 and a coach who was ‘hell-bent’ on replacing me with his son led me to ‘walk-out’ of the Club in protest before the end of the season. My biggest disappointment was that no one contacted me to offer any empathy, except our honorable historian, Brian Atkinson.                                                                                                                   
I played 177 games for West Perth and achieved Life Member status. After West Perth, I went on to coach Thornlie (Sunday League, winning two F&B), Beverley (Avon League), Rossmoyne (Amateurs) and my most success was as player/coach of Koorda (Central Wheatbelt) where we won the Premiership for the first time in 47 years.                                                                                                                                         
My son, Brendon Logan, played 188 games, is also a life member and played in three (3) premierships for West Perth.
William (Bill) Spittles – Life Member- Statistician
In 1948, at 5 years old, my dad took me to the football to see my first Cardinals game at Leederville Oval. The game itself, and the boys in red and blue, Heal, Schofield, Scott, Buttsworth, Loughridge, amongst many others had a tremendous impact on me. I rarely missed a game from then on, and could hardly wait for Saturdays to come around, and at 10 years old was just as vocal as the older men and women were.
I played through the junior grades with Mount Hawthorn, and lived a block away from Menzies Park in Mt Hawthorn where I spent a great deal of my youth and teens with my mates. A couple of youngsters tried to muscle in on our ‘big boys’ patch at the park. They were like white ants, they kept coming back, so we kicked their ball into the pine trees to get rid of them. Alan Watling and Stephen Smeath have never forgotten it and are still quick to give me a bit of stick, they always tell me that they had the last laugh.
My junior football in Under 15’s came to an end when I left Perth Boys High School at 14 to take up a job with City Motors in Murray St, Perth, (1958-1965), one of the larger motor vehicle dealerships in Perth at the time. It was ironic that some of my colleagues were footy legends. Kevin Murray (Fitzroy legend, East Perth coach 1965/1966), Laurie Kettlewell (Subiaco legend 1954/1965), Bob Johnson (Melbourne legend, East Fremantle coach 1962/1966), Ron McBride (West Perth Half Forward Flank speedster, and 1960 premiership player).
In 1961 I wanted to have a crack at playing thirds (colts) for the Cardinals. Ron McBride and I were working together, and he took me to pre-season training in his ‘yank tank’, a conspicuously large Buick or Chevvy with big tail fins. All three grades trained together then under head coach Arthur Olliver, with Bill De Gruchy as fitness coach. It was tough going, and I threw up in the first session, but it was fantastic being on the track, with the players I so much admired, Foley, Margaria, France, Bewick, Porter, Ashdown, Ayre, Gabelich, Wylde, Fanchi, the list goes on.
But the experience was short-lived. Ron had prior permission to leave work early, I didn’t, so I was sneaking away an hour early. The company caught me a few weeks later which brought that pleasure to an end. However, I later spent a couple of years playing reserves in the Sunday League for Scarborough FC at Abbett Park, then a short stint with Leederville Amateurs under the captainship of Dennis Cooley.
I became a member of West Perth in 1970, and in 1977, I wanted to do more. I wrote to coach Graham Campbell who rang and asked me to come down to training. There was a possible position as runner for the reserves side, but it was dependent on if the current runner, Rod Virgo, wanted to continue. Norm Knell was appointed reserves coach, and he told me to come down anyway with my gear to the first reserves scratch match against East Perth at Perth Oval. I had previously played basketball with Norm, a true gentleman and great footballer. On arrival at the ground, I found that Rod had wanted to continue as runner, which was fine, so I sat on the bench with Norm, which was very interesting. Graham Campbell called me during the week and asked me if I would like to be a statistician. It certainly wasn’t what I envisaged, but I felt obliged to accept, and I turned up at the first game of 1977 against East Perth at Perth Oval to find I was the only statistician. Graham wanted our whole teams’ stats, and a few of the EP on-ballers. The game was so quick that what I handed to him at the end was a pile of nonsense and I was sweating that he hadn’t made any changes based on my scribblings. But he said it was fine, and we beat East Perth by 19 points.
From 1977, I became a league statistician until the end of 2000, a total of 24 years. There were nine coaches during that time, Graham Campbell, Percy Johnson, Dennis Cometti, John Wynne, Bruce Monteath, George Michalczyk, Jeff Gieschen, John Dimmer, and Andrew Lockyer. To be involved at that level was an absolute privilege, and I have met, and still meet so many fantastic people that do so much for the club. The stats boys were all a great bunch of blokes, in particular John Britten, Dom Cosoleto, and Brett Cross, we still get together on game day. John’s family and my family have been close friends since he joined the stats team in 1978. Their son Glenn Britten was two years old at the time, then I watched him grow to become a dual premiership player for the club. There have been so many highlights and stories both funny and sad over the years, far too many to list here. Premierships are always the most memorable, but each individual game has its own thrills and highlights.
I was greatly honoured to receive my life membership in 1995, which coincided with a brilliant premiership victory over Subiaco after 19 years without success. I was also thrilled to receive the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 from the Commonwealth Government, to commemorate service to Australian Football.
I have been President of the West Perth Life Members Association since 2008, and I’m currently Treasurer of the West Perth Football Club Heritage Association. I’m also a member of the Cardies Coffee Club that meets every alternate Monday in Mt Hawthorn. It was started by Terry Stokesbury, Bryan Pleitner and Dave Dyson, and has now expanded to over 80 members. It’s great to see so many former players and West Perth people getting together, enjoying each other’s company, and hearing their stories. The West Perth Football Club has given me so much pleasure and enjoyment over the journey, I feel very privileged to be part of it. Long may it reign.
I hope the AFL and WAFC will have the forward vision to see that the WAFL needs to be promoted and recognised as an elite competition, and not just a feeder group to the AFL. If only one in five thousand kids will ever get to play AFL footy, what then will the other 4,999 young footballers have to aspire to?
Terry Stokesbury - Life Member
On the matter of Life Membership, there may be a number of people thinking “Who the hell is Terry Stokesbury”? Well, I hope to enlighten you on what Terry has done and is currently doing to assist the club.
Terry’s been connected with the West Perth Football Club since he was a toddler. His Father Fred Stokesbury was a long serving committee man and board member spanning 15 years and was also a Life Member.
Terry’s love for the game and the club prompted him to become a member in 1967, but even before this he assisted his father in the organization of events and functions, and the Club Concessions which was comprised of two food and drink kiosks at Leederville Oval. These kiosks were highly successful in raising a considerable amount of funds and Terry managed one of the kiosks for 5 years.
During the 1960’s the Westerners Business Men’s Association was formed to raise funds for the club and to entertain the playing group at functions and well attended dinners. The Westerner’s Association was a valuable affiliate and assisted greatly in helping to ease the club’s financial constraints. Terry served as vice-president if the Westerners in 1980 and 1981 and was the elected President in 1982 and 1983.
In 1984 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the West Perth Football Club and re-elected in 1985-1987, and together with the Late Hal Caddy they raised much needed finance form running club auction. Terry was responsible for representing the club in the country zones.
In 1984 the Golden Falcons as formed. Terry represented the Board on the group. All incoming and outgoing correspondence had to be vetted prior to it being actioned.
Over a period of time the club was barely surviving financially until it had reached the point of no return and looking down the barrel, with the realization that insolvency was a probability rather than a possibility. The board members took it upon themselves to jointly and severally sign a Bank Guarantee, and for his part Tery risked his home when he put it up as surety to assist in preventing the club’s collapse. It was a brave move fortunately, it all turned out ok.
In 1990 Terry had to move to Adelaide where for 4 years he was South Australian state manager for his employer National & General Insurance. Since returning to Perth, he has been the prime mover, along with dual 1969 and 1971 Premiership players David Dyson and Bryan Pleitner in forming the Cardinals Coffee Club which now has over 80 members comprising former West Perth players and officials. A number of these have re-engaged with the club and taken out memberships. The Coffee Club has also recently raised $6000 for the football club with more to come and it will continue to assist in any way it can.
Teryr also served on two sub-committees at West Perth, the Heritage Committee, and the Membership Committee, chaired by Board members Peter Cutler and Russell Ellen respectively.
Terry’s knowledge of the club administration, the history of the club and his connections with a vast number of former players and officials has proved invaluable to both committees.
The West Perth Football Club has always been, and will always be a major part of Terry’s life.