A new management committee headed by Victorian Athletic League president, Stephanie Spence, and including broadcaster, Jason Richardson, has set the Stawell Gift – Australia’s oldest professional footrace – off and racing again after the event was cancelled this year due to COVID-19.
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula today welcomed the appointment of the committee that includes three independent members and representatives from the athletic league, the Stawell Athletic Club and the Northern Grampians Shire Council.
“The Stawell Gift is a great Victorian event that can use these new foundations to further build on its commercial, tourism and cultural appeal,” said Mr Pakula.
“The appointment of the committee of management is a significant step forward and I congratulate all parties on their commitment and spirit of co-operation.”
The independent directors are Channel Seven and Racing.com personality, Jason Richardson – the 1993 Stawell Gift winner – as well as marketing/business manager, Sally Tucker and senior commercial and media executive, Dustin Lockett, a finalist in the 1997 Gift.
Ms Spence and Tim Mason were drawn from the ranks of the state‘s professional running body and the Stawell Athletic Club is represented by president Neil Blizzard, Robert Irvine and Wendy Hopwood while Northern Grampians mayor Cr Murray Emerson and chief executive Liana Thompson round out the 10-member committee.
Ms Spence is a former state and national league track athlete who has won over 800 metres at Stawell. She has more than 15 year’ experience working in the higher education sector and has been a board member of the Victorian Athletic League since 2016 and president since 2018.
“The Stawell Gift is an iconic event and being entrusted to be part of the group that will guide its evolution and growth is an honour,” said Ms Spence.
The new team is charged with driving collaboration between key event partners and provide expertise to build sponsorship and tourism and better promote the event and region through its national broadcast.
“The pandemic meant that we could not hold the Gift this year which was a blow – but this new committee will now throw all of its efforts into making the 2021 Gift a great success,” said Mr Blizzard.