Sue Ward, when she was secretary of the Ipswich Regional Masters Games in the 1990s. Picture: QT file
Sue Ward, when she was secretary of the Ipswich Regional Masters Games in the 1990s. Picture: QT file

Thanks Sue: You were a sporting and community treasure

OBITUARY: Sue Ward

IPSWICH has lost one of its most dedicated sports researchers and a woman committed to helping others, especially in masters and junior competition.

The Ipswich community is mourning the passing of Lynette Ward, affectionately known as Sue.

As Greg "Jacko'' Lyons shared on the popular Lost Ipswich page, Sue was the first person to set up the forum many years ago.

"Sue's dedication to Ipswich and Lost Ipswich, even though her illness, was unwavering,'' Jacko said.

"Her passion and knowledge was brilliant, especially involving sport.''

As the Queensland Times sports editor for three decades, I know exactly what Jacko means.

I worked with Sue on a number of projects including Ipswich Regional Masters Games in the 1990s and as a colleague with her on the former Ipswich Region Sports Council.

Sue loved supporting all masters competition and played a leading role as a founding member and secretary of Ipswich Regional Masters Games staged in our area.

Among the sports that gained a huge boost from the Games were athletics, netball, basketball, squash, vigoro, cycling, beach volleyball, judo, swimming, tennis, golf, hockey, tenpin bowling and softball.

As an active member on the Ipswich Region Sports Council, Sue contributed to many city projects including Sport Expos, always with a view to improving participation levels.

She was secretary during her stint on that group, offering recommendations to assist Ipswich City Council plan future events, especially for young people.

However, her pride and joy focus was spearheading the Ipswich Sporting Legends Project, supported by her husband Brian.

Working out of the little cottage in Queens Park, Sue and her research team invited leading Ipswich regional sportspeople of past years to come along and share their stories.

I'll never forget Sue's welcoming smile and offer of a cup of tea as she sat down to perform her valuable work.

Sue meticulously documented the interviews with a long-time view to getting it presented in an Ipswich Sporting Museum. She often talked with Council representatives about setting up a virtual Hall of Fame in the city.

Sadly, that never eventuated. But her countless hours of research creating DVDs and processing documents remain available for Ipswich City Council or other history organisations to share for future generations.

Revitalising stories and photos from material lost in past Ipswich floods was one of her major goals.

At her Ipswich home, she had boxes full of valuable sporting information. Sitting at her table was like being in a library.

Should an Ipswich Hall of Fame ever be established, the name Sue Ward needs to be prominently featured at the entrance.

Many of her wonderful stories from past achievers were documented in the pages of The Queensland Times. Sue captured the essence of sport and eagerly discovered memorable moments to preserve.

Sue produced a list of more than 400 Ipswich Sporting Internationals, many of which are now showcased in the North Ipswich Reserve Corporate Centre. Her tremendous work dated back to past centuries and focused on those serving their country in time of war.

Dedicated Ipswich sports researcher and community volunteer Sue Ward.
Dedicated Ipswich sports researcher and community volunteer Sue Ward.

Sue and Brian were always willing to volunteer their time and energy to many community groups.

They worked on the Ipswich Events Corporation 30 years ago, proud of the city's history and always looking for ways to preserve our fantastic achievements.

Sue loved tenpin bowling and playing social golf.

She represented Queensland with the Main Roads Department interstate tennis squad and was a past treasurer of the Queensland Professional Athletic League.

Asked why she became involved on the Ipswich Region Sports Council, Sue answered: "Seeing junior sport get a fair go with sponsorship and the media and to help people approach sport in the way it is intended.

"They should participate for their own enjoyment and to have fun rather than competing for trophies and ribbons.''

She also encouraged clubs to focus on safety in play from an early age and be aware that people with disabilities needed to participate as well.

That selfless and caring approach summed up Sue perfectly.