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Life membership for dedicated hockey pair

Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
Doug Coles and Lorraine Benson have been awarded life membership of the Lower Great Southern Hockey Association. at this years AGM.
Camera IconDoug Coles and Lorraine Benson have been awarded life membership of the Lower Great Southern Hockey Association. at this years AGM. Credit: Laurie Benson

Lower Great Southern Hockey Association stalwarts Lorraine Benson and Doug Coles have been recognised for their contribution to hockey in the region with life membership.

The pair were announced as life members at the LGSHA’s annual general meeting on December 2.

They are the fourth and fifth life members under the LGSHA banner since the former women’s and men’s associations became amalgamated with 22 life members now displayed on the honour board.

Coles has been involved in hockey in Albany for more than 60 years as a player, coach and umpire.

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He coached the North Albany women’s team to premierships in 1981 and 1982 and has coached Albany’s women’s side at numerous Great Southern Hockey Carnivals.

His greatest role in hockey has been umpiring for more than five decades, including officiating the first 10 Jo Burling Memorial games played.

Many believe Coles has umpired in excess of 1000 games of hockey and he is the only LGSHA umpire recognised with a level-two qualification.

“I was a bit surprised, but after all the years it’s just nice to give back to association,” Coles said.

“Whilst umpiring, my main highlight was umpiring the first 10 Jo Burling Memorial games.

“It was a privilege to do that.”

Benson has held a variety of roles, including coach, umpire, player, committee member and LGSHA president, since returning to Albany in 1989. She was LGSHA president in 2005 and 2006, has helped with facility upgrades, has coached numerous junior teams over nearly a decade and was instrumental in organising the formation of the second representative side for LGSHA at country week.

The Spencer Park Hockey Club president was humbled.

“It’s wonderful to be recognised, it’s an appreciation of what you have put in over the years,” she said.

“I coached kids at primary school level and watched them grow as players and people to coaching some of them still now.

“I enjoy helping the club grow and it’s a real family environment at Spencer Park, because I have followed the journey with so many players.”

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