Graeme’s grass-cutting gets a cheer

Lynch’s responsibilities include maintaining, mowing and irrigating the track. Pictures: KRISTIN DONOHUE

Esk Jockey Club volunteer of more than 25 years Graeme Lynch was the first award recipient for the new monthly Cheer a Volunteer Award Program, sponsored by Racing Queensland, Neil Mansell Transport and Mittys.

Lynch said he was humbled to receive the award, with a presentation held on Thursday 4 April in Esk.

“I didn’t expect any of this,” he said.

“The biggest thing about doing what I do is when people on the day walk out from the races and say what a great day they’ve had, and seeing the smiles on their faces.

“When someone comments on the track and says what a good track it is, that makes my day.”

Lynch has been on the committee for 25 years and track manager for 15, and his wife, Carmel, is the president of the Esk Jockey Club following in the footsteps of her father, Dan O’Brien.

“It’s a bit of a legacy, we carry on and keep it going,” Lynch said.

As the track manager, Lynch’s responsibilities include maintaining, mowing and irrigating the track.

“After a race meeting we go around and fill all the holes and divots from the horses after the race,” he said.

“On race day, the Friday before we’re setting up the marquees, I organise that and put out all the tables and chairs.

“Saturday morning, I walk the track with Tony Fitzgerald and make sure the track’s ready for racing.

“If there’s any little hiccup on the day I’m the bloke to run to I suppose, I know how everything runs.”

Lynch said it meant a lot to be the first recipient of the award.

“[Racing Queensland] said that there’s no way country clubs could survive without volunteers, which is why they put this program on, to recognise the volunteers that work in country clubs,” he said.

“They need the country clubs for horses to have a start, it’s where horses get started, so country clubs are a big thing for Racing Queensland and they’re starting to recognise that now, which is good.”

Esk Jockey Club secretary Sharon Cowley said Lynch was the first one there on race days and the last one to leave.

“Many would comment and I honestly could not think of anyone more deserving,” Cowley said.

“Most members of the club are aware of Grame’s obsession with track and ground maintenance but not everyone would be aware of the hours that entails.

“The club is very proud that Graeme has received this well-earned recognition.”

The monthly Cheer a Volunteer winners receive a beautiful trophy, and their club receives a set of cloths and bibs, courtesy of Mittys.