Charity makes dreams come true

Five Stags’ general manager Matt Palmer; Magic wing defence Hayley Saunders; Tahlia (11); Magic goal attack Monica Falkner; Waterboy founder Thomas Nabbs. Front row: Brooke (almost 7); Hayley (9) and Kaydence (almost 7).

Having five kids would be hard enough at the best of times, but for Leamington mum Hannah Meredith it’s made all the more difficult by raising them by herself.  It’s been tough since she separated from the kids’ dad and moved to Cambridge 18 months ago, but thanks to sporting charity the Waterboy things have just become a little bit easier.

Doing her best to maintain a positive attitude, Hannah concedes that she has found things “very difficult” being on her own and raising her kids on a benefit. “You just have to make the best of what you’ve got,” she said, adding that the kids’ father is “not in the picture” by his own choice. Hannah is doing her best to make a better future for her and the kids – she’s studying Early Childhood Education – but admits there’s not a lot left over each week. “I get the bills paid and the kids’ pukus are full but there’s not enough for the extras.”

All four girls are sporty (her youngest child, Lincon, is only 2) and Hannah herself said she enjoyed the opportunity that sport gave her growing up, something her own kids were in danger of missing out on due to financial restraints. The Waterboy got involved, however, and with the help of sponsorship from the Five Stags in Leamington, Branderson Homes and swimshop.co.nz, the girls have now had their netball and swimming costs covered.

General manager of the Stags, Matt Palmer, said the decision to jump onboard and help the family was something of a “no brainer”.  Matt said he was “full of emotions “meeting the family, describing them as “beautiful kids and a really caring, loving mum”.

“It’s hard to think there are people in our community who are having such a struggle…what is a simple pleasure for some (playing sport) is impossible for others,” he said.

“Team sports helps kids learn to mix with other people, and sharing, and it gives kids confidence in what they do. Being able to support them to do that is a real honour.”

Matt also thanked patrons and staff of the Five Stags, saying that “we hope you will feel 100 per cent a part of this as well, because it’s your support that has allowed us to do this.”

The girls themselves were buzzing about the support and grateful to be able to continue doing what they have been doing. By the looks of their prowess on the netball court as they were shooting some goals with Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic players Monica Falkner and Hayley Saunders last week, they could well be some future stars in the making, while Matt will not be expecting a call-up anytime soon.

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