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Helen Stallard : Rest in Peace

Helen Stallard : Rest in Peace

Helen Stallard might best be described as a strong lady.

But for those who came to know her (like I had the privilege of doing only over the last 6 or 7 years), below the surface was a marshmallow of kindness and caring.

Helen could easily have mixed with the likes of Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bruce Willis.  She would have told Eastwood that she was indeed feeling lucky … scoffed at Schwarzenegger insisting he’ll be back … and told Willis to stop drivelling on with all his yippee-ki-yays.  They would’ve known she was the boss.

But even Helen wasn’t tough enough to survive the very invasive heart op on Monday morning.  Last week, she TXTed me in that matter-of-fact way that was Helen’s modus operandi, that she ‘was okay at present, but may not be so good come Monday’.

Tragically, it was much more than ‘no good’.  Helen passed away on Tuesday 9th May 2023 in Waikato Hospital.

Helen had been in hospital for a couple of weeks while people in white coats (or is it light blue these days?)  pushed, prodded and scanned her.  Her words to me were that ‘she felt fine and a bit of a fraud sitting here amongst the sick people!’.  That was quintessential Helen.

Her passing will be devastating for David and the family.  And it’s a huge shock to the bowls community.  Helen seems to have been around forever in bowls, and there would be few bowlers who didn’t know of her.  She may even have had a reputation as someone not to be messed with … she certainly ruled the chart room with an iron biro.  But I found the opposite … she enjoyed getting stick … and giving it.

She was a lovely person.  One of the best.  And she will be missed deeply.

Helen joined Bowls New Zealand in 2014.  It seems much longer than that, such was the impact she made.

“She had been at Auckland Bowls,” recalls Martin Mackenzie, Bowls New Zealand’s Club Manager. “Where she was invited to be a technical official at the World Championships.  She was obviously such a valuable person that Bowls New Zealand nabbed her on her return.”

“I found her a source of great wisdom and knowledge,” says Martin.  “She could answer anything and everything about bowls … immediately, and on the spot.  She could come across as hard-nosed, but she was a lot of fun.  And you could call her at any time, and she always had time for you.”

“Yet she managed things with military precision.”

Former National President Jeanette Sinclair, who…

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