Twenty years of stepping out

The Mid Canterbury Magic team at this year’s national leisure March in Wellington.
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A year after finishing up coaching competitive marching teams, Heather Lamb and Wendy Suttie formed a leisure marching team in Ashburton and 20 years on both are still involved; Heather coaching and Wendy marching.

This weekend 20 current and former team members will meet up for a Saturday lunch at the Hotel Ashburton.

‘‘It will be a time of fun and reminiscing over old photos,’’ Heather said.

There have been 38 members of the team in the last 20 years. Members are coming from Dunedin, Timaru, the West Coast and Christchurch. As part of the anniversary they will remember three of their members who have died.

While Heather had enjoyed coaching ‘‘kiwis, the little ones and a senior team, I wanted a break from the pressures of competitions and also to be able to march my self.’’

Following a conversation with Wendy, she put out a call for anyone interested and in ‘‘January 2003, 13 ladies turned up for our first meeting at the Tinwald Club.’’

A full team is ten ‘‘but the good thing about leisure marching is you can have what ever number your want,’’ she said.

The local team has had as few as six.

When the call went out for women to join the team, several of those who responded ‘‘had previously been members of my senior team,’’ Heather said.

The uniforms have changed over the years but the purpose of the team with fun, fitness and friendship remains the same.

The team’s name is Mid Canterbury Magic, which came about because ‘‘I put a call out and by magic we had women turn up so we could start at team,’’ Heather said.

16th South Island Leisure Marches Gore 2009 – Mid Canterbury Magic team Back row L to R Mandy Halliday, Lyn Cameron, Diane Armstrong, Raewyn Park, Heather Lamb (Coach), Kirsty Taylor. Front row L to R Sarah Jane Reynish, Pam Earnshaw, Kelly-Marie Reynish (Leader), Tracey Crawford, Debra Sparks, Jenny Hunt

The Magic team has seen ‘‘sisters and mothers and daughters marching alongside each other.’’

This year the Mid Canterbury Magic will turn out for a day of marching with others at EA Networks Centre in Ashburton. It is on July 9.

The team recently returned from the nationals in Wellington marching with 75 other teams.

Being together weekly to practice and work as a team as they prepare for South Island and national events means ‘‘we are almost family,’’ Heather said.

In the 20 years the Magic team have been together Heather said ‘‘the team have had so much fun’’. She is looking forward to the next 20 years.