Canterbury sporting celebrities pay tribute to young Charlotte

Charlotte McLeod. Photo: HRNZ
Charlotte McLeod. Photo: HRNZ
Emotions ran high at Addington Raceway on Friday night after John Morrison was able to salute his No 1 fan Charlotte McLeod just days after she lost her battle with cancer.

Charlotte was in Morrison’s thoughts when he flourished his whip as he crossed the line in his win with Time In The Bottle.

The Canterbury junior driver carried the brave youngster’s name, written in her own handwriting, on a sticker on the inside of his helmet.

The victory was the first time Morrison had been able to honour Charlotte with victory after she lost her tenacious battle with neuroblastoma – a type of cancer that forms in nerve tissue – last Monday at just nine years of age.

Harness racing driver John Morrison carried Charlotte McLeod’s handwritten sticker in his helmet...
Harness racing driver John Morrison carried Charlotte McLeod’s handwritten sticker in his helmet and saluted the young cancer victim when he won with Time In the Bottle on Friday night. Photo: HRNZ
Charlotte is the daughter of Hayley and Hamish McLeod, with Hayley the niece of Southland breeder Diane Dynes.

Morrison has a special bond with the Dynes and McLeod families.

“Family is the main thing, this family have supported me all of my life and without them I wouldn’t be here,” Morrison said.

Morrison admitted it had been a difficult week for the family after he returned following his win honouring Charlotte.

“It has been a tough week.”

Richie Mo'unga posted on Instagram a photo of he and Sevu Reece with wrist bands bearing Charlotte’s name.

Said Mo'unga: “I bloody love footy, but no way does it define me. This relationship has taught me so much. The people and relationships I have in my life will always be the best thing about me.’’

McLeod was an avid supporter of Morrison’s career and enjoyed watching his races.

Sevu Reece and Richie Mo'unga. Photo: Supplied
Sevu Reece and Richie Mo'unga. Photo: Supplied
McLeod was an avid supporter of Morrison’s career and enjoyed watching his races.

The youngster, along with and her brother Fergus and sister Maggie even had a pair of Morrison’s pink silks made to fit her.

“She loved watching the races, she always enjoyed the races and we even got colours made for the three kids,” Morrison said.

“Her and her two other siblings, we had colours made with the pink and the white hoops and they would turn up at the races (wearing them).”

“It was good, you always knew she was watching.”

Richie Mo'unga and Charlotte McLeod. Photo: Supplied
Richie Mo'unga and Charlotte McLeod. Photo: Supplied
Morrison first carried Charlotte’s name on the inside of his helmet just one day before her passing when finishing second at the Harness Jewels with Lifes A Beach.

“Charlotte hand-printed that herself and I got to wear it at the Jewels when I ran second.”

“And that was the last race she got to watch.”

Morrison’s victory brought up his 50th win this season.

That tally gives him a five-win advantage in the national junior driver’s premiership over Sarah O’Reilly, who notched doubles at Forbury Park and Addington to set up an intriguing battle.

As he strives to bring up three consecutive junior titles Morrison will have Charlotte in his thoughts.

“All of this season so far is for her.”

 

Charlotte McLeod and Richie Mo'unga. Photo: Supplied
Charlotte McLeod and Richie Mo'unga. Photo: Supplied
Crusaders pay tribute

The Crusaders too had a place in their hearts for Charlotte.

Richie Mo’unga posted on Instagram a photo of he and Sevu Reece with wrist bands bearing Charlotte’s name, and also the name of a family member, Michael, who had also just succumbed.

Said Mo’unga: “I bloody love footy, but no way does it define me. This year has taught me so much. The people and relationships I have in my life will always be the best thing about me.

“Earlier this year I met little Charlotte. A nine-year-old whose smile can light up the whole room. Sadly she lost her battle to cancer this [last] week. My life will never be the same and forever grateful for the impact she’s had on me.

“Today I remember her and a family member Michael both taken by cancer this (last) week.’’

-Harness Racing Desk and Star News

 

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