Heather McLeod has been described as an incredible person with a huge heart. She has been recently acknowledged for this by Lotto NZ’s ‘Thank a Sport Maker’ programme.
The programme is a partnership between Lotto New Zealand and Sport New Zealand to reward, recognise and support all volunteers throughout New Zealand and, most importantly, thank them for what they do.
Heather, who is BNZ Bombay Premier’s netball coach, was nominated by player, Sam Wilson, for her tireless dedication to netball and her community.
“She always puts the team’s needs before her own. She’s so approachable and gives up so much of her time for the Bombay netball club,” said Sam.
It was because of these reasons that Heather was selected as ten of the nation’s Sport Maker finalist, where $2000 worth of sports gear was won for her club.
“She’s been volunteering for the club for so many years, and is a mum to all. It’s so awesome that she can be recognised for her efforts. Heather is extremely selfless and we would be lost without her,” said Sam.
Heather had no idea that she had been nominated, let alone, won the grant.
“Our President said she had a special announcement, and when I asked, she smiled and said you will soon find out. Well they had balloons and everything, and I just burst into tears.”
From managing, to coaching or just helping out where she can, Heather has been involved with the Bombay Netball Club for over 24 years, more so when her daughters began to show an interest in the sport.
“It has been far too long,” she laughed.
Heather says she was very humbled by the nomination.
“You know, you just get on with it (helping with your sporting club). It is all for the children who play the sport, and over the years, we have made do by fundraising from cake stalls and car washes. This grant is a great boost for the club, and I am so excited that we have won it.”
With the grant, Heather ensured that there was enough gear for the whole team to use, as well as management staff.
“We were able to purchase jackets for the team, which are just essential when playing in wet weather. They will last for many years to come,” says Heather.
Jessica O’Sullivan, Communications Advisor for Lotto NZ, said that Heather’s nomination stood out from over 500 that were received from around the country.
“Each time we put the callout for nominations, we are blown away by how many amazing Kiwis volunteer their time for sport and Heather’s story really caught our eye,” said Jessica.
As a Sport Maker finalist, Heather competed against with nine other volunteers from around the country to win a team experience prize. She received 378 votes, coming in at sixth place.