Life Member Peter Filmer awarded OAM

From fostering talent on footy and cricket fields to fighting cancer, Peter Filmer's service to the community was recognised on Monday when he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

The Yellow Rock resident was the driving force behind the Blacktown Relay for Life in 2003, just one year after he was diagnosed with a teratoma cancer.

"Fortunately I had a good prognosis from the start and while the treatment was pretty horrendous, the cancer disappeared," Mr Filmer said.

"Both my grandfathers died of prostate cancer and I lost my mum due to cancer, so it was a no-brainer for me to get involved with Relay for Life - I felt I had to do it."

The event is held every October at Blacktown International Sports Park and in its first 11 years raised more than $3 million for the Cancer Council.

Mr Filmer's role in sports and community development began when he became president of Blacktown Cricket Club at the age of only 19.

It continued after he retired as a first grade rugby league referee (1987-1997) and video referee (1998-2002) when he became a senior and junior representative head coach (and later a director and treasurer) of the NSW Rugby League Referees Association, of which he is a life member.

In between he coached junior teams for many years at Penrith Junior Cricket Association and Springwood Cricket Club (becoming a life member in 2005) and also served in administrative roles including president, vice-president and secretary.

Since 2011 Mr Filmer has been head coach of the NSW Referees Squad (training current and potential NSW Cup referees) and is a life member, former treasurer and secretary of the Penrith District Rugby League Referees Association.

He said coaching up-and-coming players and referees for so many years "keeps me feeling young and involved" in community life.

"I learnt so much from coaching my two sons' [Scott and Brad, who is Penrith's current 1st grade captain] junior teams, particularly how important the social and community development side of it is and how you can make lifelong friends from sport.

"My daughter Katie met her husband Adam Thomas [2014 NSW Cricket Volunteer of the Year] through Springwood Cricket Club.

"It's a wonderful club - and you really saw the strength of it after the recent bushfires.

"When eight members' families lost their homes the club was able to dig deep and provide $1200 to each family, which is outstanding.

"My best advice as a coach to young cricketers and referees is to have fun, because if you are not enjoying what you are doing there's no point."

Mr Filmer said he feels "immensely proud and totally surprised" about his OAM honour.

"You just don't think something like that is going to happen and I still honestly don't know who nominated me.

"I couldn't have done all the things I did without the support of my family, particularly my wife Debbie."

Citation: Shane Desiatnik. "Peter Filmer's sports service recognised." Blue Mountains Gazette. June 11, 2014.