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William Burr

When there is a barrier, I knock it down.” That is William Burr’s favourite saying, and one that he has lived by ever since he joined Special Olympics more than 15 years ago. 

“Special Olympics has been good for me. I used to sit around at home a lot in front of the TV or computer but now I’m always out doing something,” says William.
 
At 59, William is the oldest Special Olympics New Zealand athlete to become a Global Messenger, so far.  He is also the first Global Messenger from Special Olympics Howick-Pakuranga that has been nominated for the national Athlete Leadership Programme. Both are achievements William is extremely proud of, and he is looking forward to getting out into his local community and talking about what Special Olympics means to him and other people with intellectual disabilities.
 
William’s sport is tenpin bowling. He plays with a mainstream league at Westgate in Howick every week, and on Sunday he trains with the Special Olympics Howick-Pakuranga Club as an athlete and Assistant Coach. William represented New Zealand at the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens, Greece, and won Silver (in the singles and teams of four), and came fourth in the pairs. 
 
“The whole trip was an amazing experience for me, the opportunity of a lifetime,” he says. “I realise how lucky I am to get such a great chance at my age.”
 
When he’s not tenpin bowling, William works at Workforce Industries in Mangere, and twice a week he volunteers for Communicare, a community group for the elderly and disabled. Previously, he was on the board of Poly-Emp, a service that helps people with intellectual and learning difficulties find paid employment, and was made a Life Member in 2008. William also holds a scooter driver license and rides a motor scooter.
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