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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 September 2015) . . Page.. 3462 ..

I had the great pleasure of knowing John and working with him on matters of football. My one regret is that it was only in the past five years that I came to know John better. But the man I came to know was a solid contributor, always willing to pitch in, never one to complain, and always concerned for the welfare of others.

His humility is demonstrated by the comments Judith provided to me for these remarks tonight. She said John would want the focus to be not on him but on the importance of volunteering in the community. That epitomised John. He was truly never one to sit in the grandstand and watch. What I am told and I came to learn and appreciate about John in the past five years is how he lived all his life. Whether it was getting involved in what his children were doing or what others were doing, John was always willing to help out.

As his children began to get more involved in soccer, football, he also became more involved, originally coaching or managing some of his daughter’s teams, moving on to the position of vice-president at the Woden valley football club and then taking over as president only a month or so before being diagnosed with cancer. While struggling with his illness, he soldiered on, supporting the club, and was one of the key organisers of the innovative merger of Woden and Weston Creek football clubs, which created an enhanced pathway for talented junior football players to develop their skills.

As John’s wife, Judith, said to me, “John was a little different to many that you meet in the soccer community—he wasn’t a one-eyed soccer fan (he was a Victorian after all!). What he became passionate about was sports administration—trying to make sure that kids had access to well organised and quality sporting facilities and coaching so that they could develop their potential both on and off the field.” This passion became a full-time unpaid occupation for the last few years of his life. Unlike the larger poker machine financed clubs, players at Woden and Weston Creek, and the Woden-Weston entity, from first grade down, participate in fundraising to help the club raise much-needed funds. John was a key driver of Woden’s home grounds at Mawson playing fields. He was the sort of parent who was at the grounds in the mornings to make sure the fields were ready for the weekend ahead.

As a mark of the quality of the man, in my association with John I can honestly say that I never heard him speak a bad word about anyone and never saw him lose his temper. And remarkably, in view of his personal health issues, I never heard him complain about his failing health.

John believed passionately in the importance of volunteering, and he demonstrated that commitment every day of his life. John Brooks’s contribution to Woden valley football club is evident in many areas—the website, the design of the merchandise, the partnership with Weston, the motto “Reach your potential”. A close friend of John and Judith, Meredith Ashton, relates John’s often-quoted football philosophy. In problematic situations, he would say, “Let’s just stop and see how this can be reasonably worked out. What is the real issue here? What we want is for everyone to enjoy their football.”

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