It is very rare indeed for a man who never umpired VFL or AFL football to receive one of the highest accolades our association can bestow on any individual, honorary life membership. That is what our association did in recognition of David Drane’s 20-year plus commitment to VFL umpires in 1985.
David umpired in the LaTrobe Valley, first for the Yallourn and Morwell football clubs and then as part of the LaTrobe Valley Football League umpires association. David would meet the train on a Friday night if an umpire reported a player the previous week and transport them to the tribunal and then to their accommodation afterwards. On a normal Saturday he would meet the taxi in Morwell and look after the VFL umpires who were umpiring in Morwell. He would take the umpires for dinner at the Morwell club after their game to wait for the returning taxi. On one occasion he even drove an umpire back to Melbourne when the taxi forgot to collect him following a Sunday match.
He went so far above and beyond what would ever be expected of a man in his position that the umpires at the time nominated him for honorary life membership for his ongoing service to VFL umpires.
David was responsible for recruiting many young umpires from the Gippsland area into the VFL/AFL. He also agitated for the LaTrobe Valley umpires association to gain a prestigious entry into the UPD for a short period of time.
David continued to be active in the sporting world in the Gippsland area well after his retirement from umpiring. It was in the last few years that he went back to the Gippsland umpires to assist his good friend Steven Trotter when Steven became head coach of the umpires.
David’s funeral will be held on Tuesday May 24 at La Trobe Valley Funeral Services (Morwell Chapel, 437 Princess Drive, Morwell commencing at 11.30am. Following the service everyone is invited back to the umpires rooms at Maryville Recreation Reserve, Henry Street Morwell.
Rest in Peace David.