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Introducing Alex McManus

Special Olympics Nelson’s Head Basketball Coach Alex MacManus has acted as an informal mentor to many athlete leaders in his 15 years of involvement with Special Olympics Nelson. The former teacher now formally mentors 2015 Global Messenger Hamish Hurst and 2010 Global Messenger Graeme Porter, who is also the athlete representative on the Special Olympics New Zealand Board of Trustees.
In his mentor role he has helped both athletes with personal and life skills, as well as assisting with writing speeches, letters and reports.
“Although I have had the title of ‘mentor’ for a couple of years now I believe that I have been mentoring for something like 48 years! Many of the students I have taught have sought me out for help and/or advice out of class,” Alex says.
“I think that probably every Special Olympic coach acts as a mentor to a number of athletes. It would
be difficult to avoid.”
Alex and his wife Pearl first moved to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in 1970. His teaching profession took him and his family to various parts of the country before settling in Nelson in 1986. Alex and Pearl have four children – Emma, Ieuan, Elinor and Fraser.
“Fraser is our Special Olympic athlete and is the reason for my involvement with Special Olympics. I have mainly been involved with basketball but have also helped out with a variety of
other sports.”
Alex retired from teaching in 2014 and is enjoying living a quieter life.
“After 45 years of fairly intense high pressure work I am enjoying being idle. I've made a lot of overseas trips in the last 10 years or so, mainly for family, but some for pleasure,” he says.
“Fraser is really enthusiastic about vintage aircraft. I have been taking him to airshows in Wanaka since 1996 and Blenheim from 2001. We have also been to airshows in Oshkosh, USA, Duxford, UK and Melbourne.”

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