We are thrilled to honour two ladies who have been involved in softball for many years. The SQI Coach of the Year Award will be now be named after Audrey McLaughlin AM and the SQI Volunteer of the Year Award will be named in honour of Betty Paxton OAM.
BETTY PAXTON OAM
Betty Paxton first became involved in softball in 1948 playing with the Brisbane Red Devils Softball Team. Betty later became involved in the Redcliffe Police Citizens Youth Club and in 1966, with a group of friends, Betty started softball in Redcliffe and by 1967 the Redcliffe PCYC Softball Club became a member of Brisbane Softball Association.
Betty’s role with the club since then has been that of Club Delegate, President, Secretary, Treasurer, coach and statistician. From 1967 to 1984 Betty was involved in the administration of Brisbane Softball Association holding positions of Club Delegate, Assistant Treasurer, Treasurer, Registrar, Canteen Convenor, Fixture Director and a Brisbane Representative Team Administrator. In acknowledgement of her service, Life Membership was conferred on Betty in 1981 by Brisbane Softball Association.
In 1983, Redcliffe PCYC Softball Club members decided that it was time for Redcliffe to have its own Softball Association. Betty approached the Redcliffe PCYC and with their support the Redcliffe and Districts Softball Association commenced in 1984. Betty has held the positions of Treasurer, Registrar, Fixture Director and Canteen Convenor with Redcliffe Softball Association and has been a Redcliffe Representative Team Administrator and Statistician.
After playing on the Redcliffe PCYC grounds for six years, the Association was granted their own grounds by Redcliffe City Council. Betty and her colleagues worked tirelessly to establish and build up the Association. In 1996, Life Membership was conferred on Betty by Redcliffe SA and in February 2000, the Redcliffe City Council named the softball grounds, “The Betty Paxton field” in February 2000 in further recognition of Betty’s contribution to the sport.
In 1991 Betty became involved in Masters Softball. She formed Bets Vets Ladies Softball Team which has participated in numerous Masters Games events, including the World, Asia Pacific (Pan Pacs), Australian and Queensland Masters Games. Betty is the administrator and coach for Bets Vets and is one of only a handful of people who has participated in every Softball Queensland Masters Tournament since inception in 2000.
In recognition of her outstanding volunteer service to softball, Betty received a SQ Service Award in 1986, a Softball Australia Service Award in 1993 and following the introduction of the SQ extended Service Award program, a SQ Diamond Service Award in 2013.
On 12 June 2000, Betty was recognised for her achievements in the Queen’s Birthday Honours when she received a Medal (OAM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for her significant and extensive volunteer service to softball as an administrator, coach and to the youth of Redcliffe.
In recognition of her outstanding service the general community outside of Softball, Betty has also received the following awards:
- Life Membership of Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association
- Quota Club of Redcliffe – Woman of the Year (1983)
- Redcliffe City Council – Citizen of the Year and Sports Official of the Year (1999)
- Many awards by community groups for her contribution to sport and the welfare to children on the Redcliffe Peninsula.
- Commonwealth Recognition Award for Senior Australians (1999)
In her spare time, Betty also serves as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels.
Betty epitomises in every sense, what it means to be a volunteer. She has consistently and unselfishly given her time to the sport of softball, PCYC and the general community for almost 70 years. To this day, Betty continues to serve our sport at club, association and masters levels and it is with great pride that Softball Queensland honours Betty by naming one of our most treasured awards: The Softball Queensland Betty Paxton OAM Volunteer of the Year Award.
AUDREY MCLAUGHLIN AM
Audrey has been actively involved in all aspects of Softball since she began playing at the local level in 1948 and continued until 1961 including representing Queensland from 1950 to 1956.
During her coaching career, Audrey coached club teams in the Brisbane Association for 15 years.
She went on to coach Brisbane Association Representative Teams for 20 years) and coached the Queensland Open Women’s Team for 21 years, winning 4 national titles.
In 1965, Audrey was Assistant Coach of the Australian Women’s Team which won the first Softball World Championship. She was the Australian Women’s Team Assistant Coach for 13 international competitions between 1965 and 1978 including four World Championships. Audrey became Head Coach for 2 international competitions in 1980.
Queensland Softball established the Coaching Committee and Audrey was a member for six years including serving as Coaching Director for 4 years. Audrey also held the National Coaching Director position from 1981 to 1983.
She was passionate about coaching and undertook a mentoring role helping to develop many coaches at all levels during her coaching career.
After first being a player in masters’ competitions, Audrey eventually moved into a coaching role. To this very day, she continues to coach at club level in Redcliffe Association and in masters competitions, including the SQI Masters Tournament, for Bets Vets team along side her lifelong friend Betty Paxton.
In 1998, Audrey was recognised for her significant contribution to coaching when she was awarded the Eunice Gill Memorial Award for coach development by the Confederation of Australian Sport.
In 2018, it is with great pride that Softball Queensland recognises Audrey for the significant contribution she has made to the development of coaching and her achievements in her coaching roles at all levels by naming The Softball Queensland Audrey McLaughlin AM Coach of the Year Award in her honour.