Volunteers keep things ticking over

Helping hands . . . Volunteers (from left) Anna Ashton, David Ashton, Alan Carter, Marion Carter and Leonie Loeber at the University of Otago before their volunteer induction on Tuesday. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

While all eyes will be on the competition, hundreds of volunteers will also be in the thick of the action during the New Zealand Masters Games.

About 500 volunteers will be in action from today (Saturday) until February 11 – 400 of those from sports clubs and 100 assisting with the operation of the games.

Evan Vincent will be back for his fifth time as a volunteer.

Mr Vincent used to compete in athletics and indoor cricket, but swapped his sports shoes for a volunteer uniform a few years ago.

In previous years he had hosting duties, which meant he was on hand to welcome competitors and help them if they needed anything.

This year, he will be part of the team which puts up and pulls down signs at various sporting grounds.

“So we are running around chasing the events,” he said.

“I thought ‘well, I have done hosting before’ and I thought I would do something different.”

“To me, it’s quite satisfying.”

It was also a good chance to make the most of the warm weather, he said.

Mr Vincent signed up to be a volunteer to give back to the games after competing for so long.

“It doesn’t matter if you are older or younger, you can still compete in sports.

“People that are getting on in years can have something to aspire to and can compete against people their own age.”

David and Anna Ashton will also be part of the team of volunteers. It will be the fourth time Mr Ashton has volunteered and Mrs Ashton’s first. She will also compete in the tennis events.

The pair, who are retired, will volunteer at swimming events and assist with promotions.

Mrs Ashton said the games were a “friendly” affair.

“It’s a good showcase for Dunedin too and it’s nice to be part of that.

“We get to meet lots of people.”

The opening ceremony will be held on Saturday in the Games Village, University of Otago Union Hall at 7.30pm. Cost for non-competitors is $10.