Before a black-tie assembly of some 600 dinner guests, Carolyn Ribone, a long-standing croquet volunteer, was awarded the prestigious Q Sport "Service to Sport" Award. The event held at the Plaza Ballroom of the Brisbane Exhibition Centre, on Saturday 30th November, is Queensland’s major sports award ceremony. Held annually, it recognises top sports people, teams and administrators. Carolyn, just one of only three people so recognised, for the "Service to Sport" Award, received her award of a lead, cut class, fully engraved trophy in the form of a large vase from the Queensland Minister of Sport, The Hon Michael de Brenni.
In her acceptance speech Carolyn thanked QSport for the honour which she said she shared with all the very many volunteers who work hard for the sport and she felt so privileged to both be nominated for and to receive the Award, as she admired the sport for its resilience, the players for their "have a go" attitude and the clubs for their community spirit. She acknowledged that croquet was a lesser known sport, though actually older than tennis, but that it was one for all ages, actively played by seniors in the present demographic. She urged everyone there to consider croquet as a lifestyle option at any age.
Supporting Carolyn and sharing the enjoyment of the evening were Carolyn’s husband Bruno, and from CAQ, President Don Close, Treasurer David Drake and Director of GC Referees, Andy Hallinon, together with two members of Carolyn’s own Pine Rivers club Jenny Hines and Jan King.
Lasting some five hours, the event included speeches and interviews with several sport personalities including Dawn Fraser who spoke of the need to "enjoy your sport". Amongst the three inducted into the top Queensland Sport Hall of Fame was someone who has a connection to croquet. Kelvin Kerkow the Olympic gold medallist bowls player brings members of the Australian bowls team to practice on some Gold Coast croquet courts before they are travelling to play in the northern hemisphere, as the grass there is at the same height as the grass on our Queensland croquet courts. Inducted as the "Hall of Fame Legend" was Mick Dittman (Horse Racing).
Among the many "famous" there on the night was Ash Barty’s father who accepted the top Queensland, "Sports Person of the Year" award on her behalf as she was unable to attend.
So, Carolyn was honoured amongst the very elite of Queensland sport…. a very fitting environment.