Matamata ‘hero’ identified
As a company that bases its service on the principles of ‘‘care, quality and community’’, Visique’s winter mission was obvious. Set out to find caring heroes in every region of the country and make them famous for their goodness and kindness to others. And after putting the word out through radio advertising and posters and word-of-mouth throughout Visique’s 63- clinic nationwide cooperative, the new hero of Matamata has been identified.
Linda Lee has been involved with Matamata Netball Centre since her eldest daughter, Kendall, now 12, started playing netball seven years ago. Ms Lee is now the president of the club and coaches one of the representative teams.
Under her leadership, this season the centre has more than 300 girls playing, with seven teams in the junior league and 37 in the senior league.
Ms Lee’s weekends are almost entirely occupied by netball. All three of her daughters compete in the club league on Saturday and the older two, Kendall and Grace, 10, are both representative players who travel to away games on Sundays.
Despite dedicating so much of her time to Matamata Netball Centre over the past seven years, Ms Lee doesn’t play netball herself but says she is happy to support the centre with the help of the ‘‘lovely ladies’’ on the committee.
Ms Lee is in good company as one of 348 people from 18 towns and 12 cities who will be named a local hero over the coming weeks. They range from Murray Barclay, a teacher from Orewa in Auckland who worked as a volunteer firefighter, to Gaye Hoskin of Hamilton, who has volunteered for Hospice Waikato for more than five years since leaving full-time work.
Like her fellow heroes, Ms Lee was nominated by an admiring acquaintance, friend or family member who wanted the world to know about their chosen person’s good deeds.
Visique Matamata Visioncare optometrist Mike Farrell said: ‘‘This is our first local heroes campaign and we have been thrilled by the response and by how many people are perceived as heroes by those who nominated them.
‘‘The campaign was inspired by the many anecdotal stories we all hear about people who go out of their way to help and support others – even when it seems they are the ones most deserving of help themselves.
‘‘Some people seem to draw strength from giving and we wanted to find those people in our community and offer them a token of thanks and some recognition on behalf of the many people who benefit and draw inspiration from them.
‘‘As a business that prides itself on serving the people of Matamata, we felt this was an ideal way to give back and celebrate a hero in our midst,’’ Mr Farrell said.