A pioneer during the early years of New Zealand international para sport, Bill Lean played a pivotal role in the development of disability athletics as both an athlete and administrator.
Unassuming and modest, Bill’s greatest triumph came when striking gold in the shot put 4 at the 1976 Toronto Paralympic Games and he later played an influential role as a long-standing secretary for Parafed Otago.
Born in Dunedin in 1942 the second eldest of five siblings, Bill was a keen sportsman in his youth playing rugby and representing Port Chalmers United Rowing Club.
However, his world was to lurch in a different direction after breaking his back falling out of a tree at the home of his future wife’s auntie.
“It was just before Christmas and because she had no Christmas tree, he climbed 20ft up a nearby pine tree to cut off a branch as somewhere to hang the presents,” explains Margaret, whom he later went on to marry for 50 years. “Unfortunately, he slipped ...