Local duo become Special Olympics life members

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Oamaru’s Stewart Hewett and Sue Rudduck were awarded life membership to the New Zealand Special Olympics at the Chairman’s Breakfast in Dunedin on Wednesday.

The pair received the accolade before the opening ceremony for the National Summer Games. Rudduck, who has been actively involved with Special Olympics New Zealand since 1997 and has been secretary and treasurer of the North Otago Committee since 2003, said it was a great honour to receive the award.

“I was shocked, honoured, but shocked,” she said.

“I really enjoy it and I’m passionate about it so you don’t think about life memberships and things. The guys are just brilliant.”

Special Olympics New Zealand said Rudduck remained one of their most ardent supporters and were proud to award her a life membership.

Hewett, a constable with North Otago Police, became a Special Olympic volunteer through his daughter Katrina, an Alpine skier with Special Olympics North Otago. She has represented the country, most recently at the 2013 World Winter Games in South Korea.

Starting off coaching bocce, swimming and winter sports in 1993, his dedication to the Special Olympics saw him quickly increase his involvement across the North Otago Club, the Lower South Island and also at national level.

Hewett was selected as New Zealand’s representative in the 2013 PyeongChang, South Korea Games’ Law Enforcement torch run, where he joined 130 other torch runners and team leaders from 18 contires to run the length of South Korea, before joining in the organisation’s Polar Plunge fundraiser. Both events collectively raised more than US$120,000.

The National Summer Games concluded yesterday. Pick up tomorrow’s edition of the Oamaru Mail for a round-up of the North Otago athletes’ performances.

By JAMES FORD