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Hunter Branch CEO and committed lifesaver Rhonda Scruton has received the Building Stronger Communities Award at the Sports Chaplaincy Australia national awards in Melbourne on 31 May.

The award is given to an individual or organisation committed to building strong, healthy communities in and around sports in Australia.

For many years the Hunter Branch has supported a network of volunteer chaplains who have been able to provide care and compassion during serious critical incidents, grief or loss or just to keep an eye on the welfare and wellbeing of club members.

A previous recipient of the award, Australian and State Championships announcer Phil McGibbon, says the honour is well-deserved.

“I’ve known Rhonda for more than 30 years and have always been impressed by her passion for sport and the compassion she has for all participants,” he said.

Rhonda says receiving the award left her speechless.

“I am very humbled to be recognised by the most amazing group of people I have ever worked with - they are the ones I admire so much for their compassion to our lifesavers,” she said.

“Clubs are so grateful for the support chaplains give for free and they are always ready to support those that need a strong shoulder in dark times.”