Great-aunts cheer on Nick Willis as he goes for gold

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 04/08/2012
Dorothy Williamson and Myrtle Willis
LAIRD HARPER/Fairfax NZ

GOLDEN SUPPORT: Cousins Dorothy Williamson and Myrtle Willis are on tenterhooks waiting for Nick Willis to claim gold in the 1500m.

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Nick Willis' great-aunt Dorothy Williamson may not be able to watch him run for gold in the 1500m, but the Hawera woman will hang on every word that is broadcast.

The visually impaired octogenarian is glued to her radio at the Annie Brydon rest home most mornings to hear the latest from the Olympics, but it's Nick Willis who will get all of her attention during the next four days.

Willis, 29, of Lower Hutt began his campaign for Olympic glory overnight.

And all going well, the final of the 1500m is run on Wednesday at 8.15am (New Zealand time).

Mrs Williamson remembers him as being "full of beans" when he visited his grandparents' old farm near Manaia.

"He was always running around from what I can remember."

Now, like throngs of Kiwis, she will cheer him on as he takes on the Games' blue ribbon event.

"It's quite exciting really.

"He got his silver medal last time so we are hoping he will get another one."

Mrs Williamson has been doting on her most famous of relatives for some time and her fellow rest home residents haven't escaped.

She had chewed the ear off "one or two" of them since the Olympics began.

Meanwhile, yet another great-aunt, Myrtle Willis, shed tears of pride when "our boy" proudly strode into London's Olympic Stadium holding the New Zealand flag.

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