Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching checks out the Viewing Terrace which will accommodate former Pig Pen racegoers on Cup Day.
Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching checks out the Viewing Terrace which will accommodate former Pig Pen racegoers on Cup Day.

Fifth-generation local nabs esteemed award

SIX weeks after he announced his retirement, Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching has landed a prestigious award celebrating his career.

He was among 10 leaders, staff and businesses to receive recognition at Saturday night’s City of Ipswich 2020 Business Excellence Awards.

He accepted the Ipswich Region Chamber of Commerce President’s Award at the Turf Club, attributing his achievement to family, his colleagues and the community.

“You work hard over many years and the support from my family has been very important over that time so it’s not just me who’s getting the award,” Mr Kitching said.

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“But to be recognised really is icing on the cake. I’ll retire with a great deal of pride knowing what we’ve been able to do over that time.”

The fifth-generation Ebbw Vale local first attended an Ipswich Cup event 42 years ago, in 1978.

Since then, he hasn’t missed one.

For the past 16 years, Mr Kitching has championed the Turf Club as its general manager, securing its financial future and delivering a $25 million redevelopment.

READ MORE: How $25 million works have transformed turf club

“I kind of don’t like to take all the credit for that because a number of people were involved in it, along with the community – I don’t think anywhere else in Australia supports an event as strongly,” he said.

“Perhaps the role I have played is in assisting to develop attractions – being part of the community for my whole life helps me understand what attracts so many people to Ipswich Cup.”

Having previously served as Chamber president between 2011 and 2013, Mr Kitching has sat on the opposite side of the fence, as the one who selects the recipient of the very same award.

He said receiving the award “gobsmacked” him but, when asked to draw on his understanding of the award, said his passion and pride in the city may have helped.

READ MORE: Popular, hardworking turf club figure set to retire

“My working life has been with different organisations within Ipswich so I guess if you’re looking for someone who has contributed to business in Ipswich, that obviously helps a lot,” he said.

Mr Kitching’s hard work indeed played a role in Ipswich Region Chamber of Commerce president Phil Bell’s choice.

“Brett was clearly a stand out this year and has been appropriately credited for the longstanding legacy he leaves in the strength and growth of Ipswich,” Mr Bell said.

“In particular, his contributions to the Turf Club redevelopment.”

Read more news by Ebony Graveur.