AFTER more than five decades of service to the Horsham Football Netball Club, legendary trainer Hugh Avery has decided to call time on a remarkable run.
Avery, 87, hung up the towel a week ago after a career that began in the early 1960s.
Demons vice-president and head trainer Bruce Hartigan paid tribute to Avery’s exceptional career.
“We think he started in 1962 when Col Wilson came to Horsham to coach,” he said.
“Hughy was asked to come down as a trainer and has been a trainer with Horsham for over 50 years.
“It’s an amazing contribution.”
The club stalwart formed a famous partnership with fellow Demons trainer, the late Max Burke.
“Between them they gave more than 100 years of volunteer service,” Hartigan said.
“To have two gentlemen over the same period who devoted that amount of time was amazing.
“We’ve named one wing after one and one after the other and neither of them played a game.
“Hughy was a bike rider – he showed some form as a kid and won a prestigious road race when he was 14 years old.”
Hartigan said Avery, who will soon turn 88 and is a club life member, was a popular figure at Horsham City Oval.
“Hughy’s a bit of a character and he’s been a buzz around the club,” he said.
“He’s always got a yarn about everything and he loves Collingwood – he cops a lot of flack about that from the players.
“In his younger days he was always up for a good time, he always went on the footy trips and loved them.
“He’s an amazing man for his age.”
Club president Laurie Taylor described Avery as an absolute legend.
“Everyone around the club respects him and all the players and kids look up to him,” he said.
“Every time we sing the club song after a win he leads them off.
“That’s something that will be missed – all the boys wait for him.
“Hopefully he’ll still be around the club for many years to come.”
Taylor said Avery’s shoes would be big ones to fill.
“How do you?” he said.
“When you look back, there’s not many people you can say have worked in a voluntary capacity at one place for more than 50 years.
“They’re one in a million.”