It’s in the blood for Leighanne

Youngest life member of the Gisborne Athletic Club

Youngest life member of the Gisborne Athletic Club

OUTSTANDING SERVICE RECOGNISED: Gisborne Athletic Club member Leighanne Wells receives her life membership certificate from club patron and life member Eric Hoggins, who designed the certificate. Picture by Paul Rickard

LEIGHANNE Wells has athletics in the blood.

Gisborne Athletic Club has been part of her life since she started competing at the age of “about three”.

But it goes back further than that.

Leighanne, 33, was presented with a certificate of club life membership at the season-opening meeting at Awapuni Stadium last Wednesday.

Her mother, Gillian Wells, and Gillian’s brother Brian Lee, and Brian’s wife Liz are also life members.

It doesn’t stop there. Gillian and Brian’s late father, Fred Lee, was a life member. So, too, was Fred’s brother, long-time radio rugby commentator Norm Lee.

Club patron and life member Eric Hoggins, who presented the framed certificate to Leighanne, said she was the youngest person to have been made a life member.

Leighanne’s earliest memories of Gisborne Athletic Club are of going with her mother and father, Gillian and Ian Wells, to the Wednesday night meetings when she was “about three” and running in the races.

In the early days, she competed in everything but later concentrated on shot put and discus. That left plenty of time to help wherever the club was short of helpers, and her career as an athletics official began.

Leighanne says she never set the world alight as an athlete but she enjoyed competing, and the Colgate Games were an annual highlight in which she took part from the age of seven to 14.

“Athletics was just something we did as a family,” she said.

She stopped competing when she left school and concentrated on helping out as an official, as a judge in track events and, when required, for the field events. The family interest is still there . . . she had nephews competing first, and lately nieces.

Athletics officials and helpers are often parents of competitors, and when the young athletes move on, the parents usually do, as well.

But Leighanne Wells says some parents stay on and continue giving service. Recent examples include Jill and Geoff Smythe, and Jim McGregor.

She says the athletic club can always do with more helpers, short- or long-term.

“Just ask at the recording table on Wednesday night, or inquire through the club’s Facebook page.”

Eric Hoggins this year celebrates 50 years of club life membership. He started going to athletics in 1938 and has been a member of the club for 73 years, coaching several national champions. He was made a life member in 1968.

LEIGHANNE Wells has athletics in the blood.

Gisborne Athletic Club has been part of her life since she started competing at the age of “about three”.

But it goes back further than that.

Leighanne, 33, was presented with a certificate of club life membership at the season-opening meeting at Awapuni Stadium last Wednesday.

Her mother, Gillian Wells, and Gillian’s brother Brian Lee, and Brian’s wife Liz are also life members.

It doesn’t stop there. Gillian and Brian’s late father, Fred Lee, was a life member. So, too, was Fred’s brother, long-time radio rugby commentator Norm Lee.

Club patron and life member Eric Hoggins, who presented the framed certificate to Leighanne, said she was the youngest person to have been made a life member.

Leighanne’s earliest memories of Gisborne Athletic Club are of going with her mother and father, Gillian and Ian Wells, to the Wednesday night meetings when she was “about three” and running in the races.

In the early days, she competed in everything but later concentrated on shot put and discus. That left plenty of time to help wherever the club was short of helpers, and her career as an athletics official began.

Leighanne says she never set the world alight as an athlete but she enjoyed competing, and the Colgate Games were an annual highlight in which she took part from the age of seven to 14.

“Athletics was just something we did as a family,” she said.

She stopped competing when she left school and concentrated on helping out as an official, as a judge in track events and, when required, for the field events. The family interest is still there . . . she had nephews competing first, and lately nieces.

Athletics officials and helpers are often parents of competitors, and when the young athletes move on, the parents usually do, as well.

But Leighanne Wells says some parents stay on and continue giving service. Recent examples include Jill and Geoff Smythe, and Jim McGregor.

She says the athletic club can always do with more helpers, short- or long-term.

“Just ask at the recording table on Wednesday night, or inquire through the club’s Facebook page.”

Eric Hoggins this year celebrates 50 years of club life membership. He started going to athletics in 1938 and has been a member of the club for 73 years, coaching several national champions. He was made a life member in 1968.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the call for a feasibility study into developing an "inland port" and sending the district's export logs to Napier Port by rail, to get log trucks out of the city and to repurpose the port and harbour area?