Mark Rushton became involved in football in the early 1990’s when his son James started playing with Hornsby Heights FC. James recalls his father coming to watch him play and help with team manager duties. He also remembers his father manning the BBQ on many occasions. James left Hornsby Heights FC to move to Asquith FC. There Mark coached for two seasons.
Mark’s volunteer involvement with Ku-ring-gai and District Soccer Association (KDSA) commenced in 2000 when he undertook a role with the Junior Football Committee where he was responsible for the U16 and Youth age groups. He continued in this role for many seasons, his last year being 2008.
Mark has also been involved in the KDSA 5-a-side competition in 2009. Mark was the competition organiser for the KDSA and NSFA (Northern Suburbs Football Association) 5-a-side and then 6-a-side competitions from 2010 until 2016. Many will remember Mark from these competitions that were held at St Ives Showground.
Mark tells us that he became a referee after attending a game at Karuah Oval. It is here that he disagreed with a referee’s decision. Fellow life member Bill Mackay approached Mark and suggested that he should try refereeing. Mark then did a referee’s course and became a referee not only for the KDFRA but also refereeing a lot of Public School games. He was also heavily involved with the Catholic and Independent School competitions. Mark refereed for many years and became a Level 1 referee. Unfortunately in 2007 Mark became wheelchair bound and was unable to continue in his football refereeing role. However in early 2009 Mark made a return to umpiring cricket from his wheelchair for a couple of Colts matches.
Mark has also been involved in the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai and Hills District Cricket Association (HK&HDCA). Mark was President of this Association from 2007 until 2011. He became the 48th Life Member of the HK&HDCA in 2012. Mark was one of the founding members of the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai and Hills District Cricket Coaches Association. He was the Vice President from 2010 to 2012 and has been their patron since the 2015-2016 season. He became the fourth Life Member of this Association in 2020.
In 2015 Mark was awarded two awards by The Centre for Volunteering. He received both the Adult Volunteer of the Year and also Volunteer of the Year. He received these awards for the establishment of the Blowfly Cricket Club in 2011. The club allows children and adults with special needs and intellectual disabilities to play cricket in a fun, safe, friendly, accepting and not-judgemental environment. Mark has also worked with Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia to produce a resource on the Blowfly concept to help other Clubs and Associations establish teams for special needs children. Mark was made a Life Member of Blowfly Cricket in 2019.
Mark became a Life Member of the NSFA in 2007. We thank Mark for his involvement with the KDSA and NSFA. Mark’s dedication to sport in general has been outstanding.