December 23 was a special day for the Parkes and District Amateur Soccer Association and the families long affiliated with the club.
An early Christmas present came for the Parker and Stone families of Parkes with the official naming and unveiling of the Parker-Stone Field at the Harrison Park complex.
The small ceremony has been described as historical by club members in a fitting way to pay tribute to the enormous contributions to Parkes Soccer spanning more than 50 years by the Parker and Stone families.
"The field was always known as Field 6, which was a scrubby paddock used as a race track, and we wanted something to represent the history of soccer," club president Wayne Osborne said.
"It's gone from a generic name to something more official - these families have been around since 1963 when men's soccer was played at Spicer Oval."
The field naming is among a variety of upgrades and developments made to Harrison Park of late, including renovations to its southern amenities block at the end of 2019 that features new change rooms and toilets, referees room and awning.
During the ceremony Wayne spoke about the two families' involvement with the club and thanked former club president Kevin Medlyn for his role in liaising with Parkes Shire Council to arrange proceeds to name the field.
Malcolm Stone started playing soccer in Parkes in its inaugural year in 1963 and has held numerous club committee and Lachlan Amateur Soccer Association positions, including senior vice president (1994-1996, 1995-1996 respectively) and president (1997-2011 for both).
He coached for eight years, was a referee for 12 and contributed numerous hours in the canteen on weekends.
He's been inducted as a life member for both the club and Parkes Referees Branch, and was the recipient of a Football NSW State Award in 2011.
Wayne also said Malcolm was the driving force behind the lighting project on ground six in 2006, which included a number of working bees and digging trenches.
Wife Roberta was the club's junior vice president in 1994 and competition secretary/carnival coordinator from 1995-2011, and Lachlan Soccer's competition secretary from 2007-2011.
She was the main driving force behind starting the girls and open ladies competitions that saw 32 teams enter in its first season.
Roberta too is a life member of the club and the recipient of a Football NSW State Award in 2011.
Their son Cameron who started playing soccer in Parkes at the age of five in 1993, is still a member of the club.
He's been registrar (2009-2010), senior vice president (2011), president (2012-2013) and coaching coordinator (2011-2013).
He was also secretary for the Parkes District Soccer Referees Association from 2004-2013 and coaching coordinator for Lachlan Soccer from 2011-2013.
Since leaving Parkes in 2014 to take up a position with the Central Coast Mariners, Cameron has still contributed to Parkes Soccer by being the website and social media coordinator, a role he still holds today.
The three generations of Parker family have been just as involved in the club, beginning with Dawn Parker who has given more than 45 years, volunteering as canteen manager and holding the position of treasurer.
Son David has been involved since 1965 and still is to this day.
He's a life member of the club and the Parkes Referees Branch and has received a Football NSW State Award for his contributions.
Wife Tania has been a committee member of the Parkes club and has worked in the canteen, while their sons Adam and Brad have been long-time players and referees who, Wayne said, "have always strived to put Parkes Soccer first".
Parkes Mayor Ken Keith OAM also spoke at the event, recalling his days of playing soccer with Malcolm.
"It's good to see how much soccer has grown over the years," he said.
Cr Keith remembered when the club raised $60,000 by hosting the state championships 16 or 17 times over 20 years to build the northern amenities block that sits on the new Parker-Stone Field.
Malcolm thanked all involved and said the naming was a great honour.
"When I first heard about it I thought we had to die before something was named after you," he laughed.
David also shared his memories of soccer and thanked Kevin who he said "went out of his way to make this happen".
As part of the redevelopment of the area, new Harrison Park signage had also been installed, with the Harrison family present on the day.
Cr Keith said he was happy to see the new signage include why it was named after Ron Harrison OAM, a former councillor and chairman of the Parkes Sports Council for more than 20 years.
"With Michael Greenwood as his secretary, they really made Parkes Sports Council what it is today," he said.
"It wouldn't be a Saturday morning without him and Michael driving around the soccer fields doing the inspections."
Wayne said the club was overdue to re-badge the park.
"Gone is the green tank now... It took a while but it was worth the wait" he said.
"And there is more development on the cards - the street is due for an upgrade and hopefully gone will be the mud piles in the car parks.
"A big thanks to Parkes Shire Council and the Parkes Sports Council."
Ron's daughter Kristine Nock was honoured to see her father still being recognised.
"I remember he used to give me a plastic bucket to get all the rocks off the field," she said.
"His life was the sports council, Parkes Shire Council, TAFE and Rotary.
"He would only leave Parkes to go fishing, he was very much embedded into this community."