New England Rugby Union referee Peter Haynes has been recognised for his contribution to the sport.
Haynes received a Distinguished Long Service Award at the Sport NSW's Community Sports Awards.
The Awards recognise outstanding achievements and contributions to community sport in NSW which is largely carried out by a volunteer workforce.
Haynes was one of 20 recipients from a wide variety of sports to receive their award from NSW Minister for Sport John Sidoti.
Haynes was honoured for his decades of dedicated and unselfish service to rugby union as a player and referee.
Haynes commenced his adult rugby career in 1987 playing through the grades with Sydney University.
In the 1990s, he played with, captained and coached Molong in the Central West, and also represented Central West for several years.
Haynes commenced his refereeing career in Dubbo in the late 1990s and began in the New England competition in the early 2000s.
In the early 2000s, Haynes commenced refereeing in the New England competition and quickly rose to be the zone's number one referee, officiating every zone first grade grand final through to 2014.
He refereed at the highest level as an exchange referee, and at country representative level. He consistently attended local grounds early where he would run touch for the lower grades, or referee an earlier game when there was a referee shortage, before refereeing first grade later.
Haynes has been an active committee member with New England Rugby Referees since 2005 and has served as President since 2009.
His exceptional communication skills, knowledge and experience of the game and his passion for developing young players and referees, see him as a prominent leader in rugby in northern NSW.
Sport NSW chairwoman, Carolyn Campbell said Haynes was a worthy award recipient.
"Sport in NSW relies on people such as Peter who have voluntarily dedicated their time over many decades. Put simply, sport would not exist without them," Campbell said.
"It is fitting these Distinguished Long Service Award recipients are recognised and honoured. It is because of their efforts that NSW remains the premier sports state in Australia."
"Without these hard-working, selfless volunteers, tens of thousands of boys and girls, men and women, would not be able to enjoy the health, social and community benefits sport provides.
"Sport remains at the heart of communities across NSW and has the unique ability to bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together."
The Awards presentation evening also celebrated volunteers across nine categories for their outstanding achievements and excellence to over the past year. The categories were Community Official of the Year, Young Official of the Year, Community Coach of the Year, Young Coach of the Year, Community Sports Administrator of the Year, Volunteer Director of the Year, Community Team of the Year, Community Club of the Year and Community Event of the Year.