It would be hard to find someone who has done more work behind the scenes for Athletics Gore than Lynette Graham.
For her contribution, Graham was made a life member of the club at Newman Park on Tuesday.
It meant a lot to her to be named only the seventh life member since the club’s inception in 1947.
“It’s never something you expect but its an acknowledgement of the contribution over the years.
“Athletics has meant a lot to me,” Graham said.
She joined the club in 1974 at the age of 12 and quickly took to javelin and shot put.
Coached by fellow life member Murray Speden, Graham made the New Zealand rankings and competed on a Southland Athletics tour to the Fiji National Championships in 1981.
However it is her contribution off the field where Graham has been most valued.
During her almost 45 years of involvement with Athletics Gore, Graham’s roles have included being a committee member, president, a graded official, organising gear, trophies, certificates and liaising with the council.
She was instrumental in the organisation of building a new discus cage a few years ago.
Her fondest moments were watching children progress in the club, “seeing how all the different ones [children] join and improve in the sport”, Graham said.
In the past, her time was spent educating the parents new to club.
“It’s important to pass on the knowledge to the other parents about the club and how to help out with teaching the children different parts of the sports on club night.
“If parents don’t know how to do it then children won’t learn,” she said.
Club president Kylie Davidson paid tribute to Graham’s extensive efforts when presenting her with the award.
“She’s a very worthy recipient. Whenever we have [Southland] events here, you’ll see her an hour and a-half before the competition starts, to help get everything ready.
“Her knowledge for this club has been invaluable – we wouldn’t have a club running like this if it wasn’t for you [Graham] in the background,” Davidson said.
Athletics had always been a part of Graham’s life. Her mother Beve Goodwin served as the club’s secretary from 1978 to 1984, when her daughter became dedicated to the sport.
Graham’s children Ben and Jade both represented New Zealand at the triple jump in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
She was also made a life member of Athletics Southland in 2015.