Ipswich Rangers life member Nicholas Pender.
Ipswich Rangers life member Nicholas Pender. Rob Williams

Popular choice for elite sporting honour

NICHOLAS Pender was clearly a deserved choice as Ipswich Rangers latest life member.

In awarding his special honour on November 26, club officials described Pender as someone who "embodies everything that makes Rangers a great club to be involved with - considered thinking, calmness under pressure, respect of and for others, and always puts the best interest of the club first.

"Nick's contribution to the club has transcended a variety of roles including representing Rangers on the field as a player, and off the field as a committee member, team manager and willing volunteer.

"A friendly and familiar face around the club, Rangers are in debt to Nick's contribution to date, and in the future.''

Among the people who have helped Pender most are highly regarded rugby coach and mentor Mike McLean, current committee member and "sports professional'' Kim Rowcliffe and re-elected "very organised and passionate'' president Jason Dutton.

Pender said former treasurer Ken Schoeman was also highly committed in his efforts setting up Rangers' future.

"There's been some great people here,'' he said, also appreciative of his family and wife Lauren.

Pender hopes next year's milestone anniversary gives the club a massive community kickalong, boosting participation, rekindling past deeds and paying tribute to other long-serving and loyal Rangers supporters.

"It is big. We've probably been working on it for the last 18 months and there's still another 12 months of hard work to go,'' he said.

The latest life member was excited about a 50th anniversary book on the club's history to be launched in February.

"That will be wonderful that book,'' he said.

Officials at the Woodend Park club are also organising special playing jerseys to mark the milestone year.

A number of celebratory events are being planned including a golf day and gala dinner.

After modestly accepting his life membership, Pender urged other people to put their hand up to help the Rangers continue its growth over the next 50 years.

"Every club relies on participation and it relies on the community,'' he said.

"The more people that get involved in any capacity - it doesn't have to be a committee member of a coach - it makes for a better club.''