WHEN a freak farm accident ended Les Sumner's football career, he put his hand up to become a trainer.
It's a decision the community stalwart, who has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service to the Cobden community, has never regretted.
In fact the 83-year-old is still a trainer for the Cobden Football Netball Club and has no plans to hang up his boots anytime soon.
Mr Sumner's retina was torn out of his eye when it was severed with a piece of wire on the Jancourt East farm he lives at with his wife Dulcie.
In what Mr Sumner describes as a stroke of luck, a doctor from the US was visiting Melbourne when he was taken there for treatment.
"There was a doctor from America who was lecturing on replacing retinas and I happened to come along," Mr Sumner said.
"The doctors told me it was the first retina reattachment in Australia."
Mr Sumner said he returned to the football field, but soon discovered his playing career was over due to double vision he suffered from.
"I tried to play but when you see two footballs coming toward you it's a bit awkward," he said.
Instead, he took on the role of trainer, something which suits him because he enjoys helping others when he can.
His vision returned to normal after two years, but he continued in his role as trainer - not only for Cobden but for both the Hampden and Victorian Country Football leagues.
He was inducted to the Hampden Football League's hall of fame in 2017 and was inducted as a life member in 2000.
Mr Sumner was also a foundation member and president of the Hampden Sports Trainers Association and a life member since 1995.
But it's not only on the field that the former dairy farmer serves the community he loves.
He was a volunteer for meals on wheels, St John Ambulance, president of the Cobden Scout Group and an active member of the Cobden and Jancourt fire brigades.
Mr Sumner is incredibly humble about his volunteering efforts.
In fact his wife was convinced he had received bad news when he received the letter notifying him of his OAM win.
"The wife said 'what's wrong with you - you're white'," Mr Sumner said.
He said he didn't think he should be singled out because so many people volunteer countless hours for their community.
"Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would get an OAM," Mr Sumner said.
However, he said it was an incredible honour.
Mr Sumner said his volunteer work had led to many great memories over the years, including a brief encounter with Princes Charles.
"He was in Warrnambool many years ago and lady collapsed in the crowd," he said.
Mr Sumner went to her aid, as did the visiting royal.
"Prince Charles came across and offered his help - he was a very nice chap, he even offered his car," Mr Sumner said.
He said he would not have been able to help so many other people in the Cobden community without the support of his wife Dulcie.
Mr Sumner said he had no plans to retire from the roles he loves.
"While they'll have me, I'll stay," he joked.
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