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Merrill Holdsworth

Merrill Holdsworth has provided unwavering support for Special Olympics Wellington (and indeed Special Olympics New Zealand) since she first became involved in 1989. She has been with the Club from its early beginnings “helping out where needed” around the swimming pool in support of son Michael, to becoming the Club’s Coordinator in 1995 and guiding the Club’s growth.

Merrill supported the development of winter sports in New Zealand, was a driving force behind Special Olympics New Zealand’s first ski camp in 1992, and helped fund the New Zealand team to compete at the 1993 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.
Merrill has used her extensive business networks to promote and fundraise for Special Olympics at Club and national level, and has stepped up, without hesitation, to ensure the Club’s stability during times of difficulty—this meant coaching three different sports at one stage.
An inspiration herself, Merrill has huge respect for other volunteers, particularly those who have donated their time without the impetus of a family member with an intellectual disability.
Special Olympics New Zealand, she admits, takes up a considerable amount of her time (“90% of my email inbox is Special Olympics-related,” she says). While she would like to step back her involvement at some stage and work more behind the scenes, Merrill says she will always be involved with Special Olympics through her son Michael as “athletes don’t retire from Special Olympics!”
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