About 500 volunteers carry out multitude of tasks

Long-time Masters Games volunteers (from left) Shirley Egerton, Noeline Harris. Lesley Lloyd and Shirley McNeilly in Dunedin yesterday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Long-time Masters Games volunteers (from left) Shirley Egerton, Noeline Harris. Lesley Lloyd and Shirley McNeilly in Dunedin yesterday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Every sport needs volunteers.

But when there are more than 50 sports at the New Zealand Masters Games which start off this weekend, a small army of volunteers is needed.

They referee the touch games, write down all the scores, time the swimmers, start the races and generally do everything that makes the sport happen.

There are about 500 volunteers at the Games. There are 100 volunteers to help run the Games' operations and the rest are volunteers from all of the sports bodies involved who help run the events.

Many of them keep coming back for more and without them the Games would simply not function.

Four women, all well into their retirement, have been helping out for the past decade and more, and are again returning for this year's Games.

Noeline Harris, Lesley Lloyd, Shirley McNeilly and Shirley Egerton are all keen volunteers and, although all four are into their 70s, they show no sign of slowing down.

Mrs Lloyd said it was a fun time and a real pleasure to meet competitors and help them out.

She said many competitors liked a helping hand and that was the volunteers' role - to make them feel comfortable and get them organised.

''You just enjoy meeting all the different people and helping them out with what they need. Everyone likes to see a smiley face and making sure they are happy,'' she said.

The women worked about three hours a day at the Games so there was still plenty of time to do other jobs and watch some sports. Part of their volunteering next week will be timing at the swimming.

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