Full-on' memorial game a fitting tribute
Story by: Adam Roberts - Nelson Mail - Photo by: Marc Palmano - Shuttersport
A football match at Nelson College yesterday was a fitting tribute to a sporting stalwart.
The first annual Jill Heath memorial match between the First XIs of Nelson College and Nayland College was held on the Nelson College front field.
The teams observe a minute's silence to remember Mrs Heath
The match opened with a whole-school haka and a minute's silence to remember Mrs Heath, who died last week at the age of 74, following a long battle with cancer.
She was a part of Nelson College's football community for almost three decades, first volunteering as an orange lady in 1984, and becoming the official team manager in 1987.
The first XIs in the top annual college fixture will play for the Jill Heath Memorial Trophy every year.
"The whole-school haka and minute's silence were particularly poignant moments"
Nelson College deputy headmaster Tim Tucker said the game was a fitting way to wind down the school's commemoration of Mrs Heath.
"It was a fantastic game, a real full-on spectacle. Everything that Jill would've wanted.
"She would have thought it was absolutely fantastic."
The whole-school haka and minute's silence were particularly poignant moments, he said.
"[The students] have risen to the occasion and understood what Jill was for the school."
Nayland College principal Rex Smith said the game was a great event for both schools.
"It's always a good battle between those two teams."
Being able to use the game to pay tribute to Mrs Heath, a passionate advocate of football, was fantastic, Mr Smith said.
"It added something to what is traditionally a tough match."