Beryl?s blind faith
By TONY WHITE
WHEN it comes to lawn bowls and charitable endeavours helping those in need Gulmarrad-based Beryl Hellwig has a rare vision.
The 62-year-old former Northern Territory resident has worked with sight impaired and disability lawn bowlers for over a decade.
Recently she was appointed NSW co-ordinator by the Australian Blind Bowling Association.
Hellwig, who plays bowls at Brooms Head, will have 11 people including bowlers and their 'directors' (assistants) under her control and play an instrumental role implementing a new national training program for blind lawn bowlers.
Along with husband Wolf, Hellwig, who moved to the Clarence Valley in June 2002, is a member of the North Coast Blind Bowlers Association.
It takes dedication and a special humanitarian gift for the necessary skills to work with visually impaired and disability bowlers.
Hellwig's first association with blind bowlers came almost by chance.
"It was when I was up in Darwin," she recalled. "A local group wanted to come and use our facilities at my local club and they showed us what they do.
"I just loved it. They (visually impaired) are just fun people to work with.
"I eventually did a coaching course for the visually impaired and I'm also qualified to coach bowlers with disabilities.
"I really find I have a great thing there to help people bowl in this sport to the best of their ability. I just get so much out of it.
"It's a real pleasure to work with these people."
Hellwig has been to two world Blind Bowls Championships and her record is enviable.
In 1997 she assisted Jenny Smith (formerly Newell), who now resides in Yamba, to combine with Peter Alexander and win the world pairs title.
Then last year she assisted Sharon Dunk of Liverpool to win a world bowls single title.
Hellwig has also been a regular assistant at State and National Championships.
The next world titles in Australia are scheduled for 2010.
Hellwig has also had the honour of carrying the Olympic torch.
"As a thank you for the work I'd done the Northern Territory bowlers nominated me to carry the torch at the Sydney Paralympics," Hellwig said.
"I was the third runner in Australia to carry it (Olympic torch)."