Club­helps tick off bucket list

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - SAMHEWAT

‘‘It's only a small thing com­pared to what they've done for our club’’

Mt Al­bert-Pon­sonby football club has hon­oured a member who gave 46-years of ser­vice with the ride of a life­time.

Mau­reen Burn­side, 75, will head into pal­lia­tive care this week, but she’ll do so with the sat­is­fac­tion of fi­nally driv­ing in a 1966 Ford Galaxie.

Club or­gan­is­ers found out about Burn­side’s con­di­tion, and her bucket list wish, and fran­ti­cally rushed around town to find a way of get­ting her into the red con­vert­ible.

They con­tacted the New Zealand Hot Rod As­so­ci­a­tion with a plea for help, and fi­nally found an owner will­ing to of­fer Burn­side a ride in a red 1966 Ford Galaxie.

Mount Al­bert-Pon­sonby’s chair­man Keith Earl said it was the least the club could do af­ter all her years of ser­vice.

‘‘When you have peo­ple who have been at the club for over 40 years, you need to be ap­pre­cia­tive of that,’’ Earl said.

‘‘It’s just some­thing we could do and it’s only a small thing com­pared to what they’ve done for our club. If it puts a smile on her face for an hour, that’s pri­c­less.’’ Burn­side was taken for a ride the 60s classic on Fri­day in around Auck­land’s water­front be­fore re­turn­ing to the club for cel­e­bra­tory drinks.

She first came to the club in 1971 with her hus­band Wally Burn­side.

She brought her two sons, Tony and Craig, down to the club to regis­ter them for football. When she re­turned home, she in­formed her hus­band he would be the coach and she would be the man­ager.

Since then, she’s held a range of po­si­tions at the club, in­clud­ing ju­nior pres­i­dent, and has be­come fa­mous for her lamb and gravy rolls.

In 2011, both her and her hus­band re­ceived long ser­vice medals from Auck­land Football.

Wally Burn­side said the club had given them a lot of sat­is­fac­tion over the years, and the ges­ture was hum­bling.

‘‘You be­come a part of the club I guess,’’ he said.

‘‘It be­comes all your friends. We weren’t ex­pect­ing it, but we ap­pre­ci­ate what the club’s done.’’

Mt Al­bert-Pon­sonby are cur­rently com­pet­ing in the North­ern Re­gional Football League’s (NRFL) Divi­sion One com­pe­ti­tion, with eyes to move up to the NRFL Premier League.

Mau­reen and Wally Burn­side still at­tend club home games ev­ery sec­ond week.

Her fam­ily wished for her con­di­tion to re­main pri­vate.

JAMES PASLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Mau­reen Burn­side sits in­side a 1966 Ford Galaxie, a car she’s had on her bucket list for a while. Keith Earl

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