One of the unexpected joys of watching your children get older and participate in organised sport and join a club such as St Marys is that your own social group becomes expanded. If you are extremely lucky, some of these new acquaintances become dear and loved friends. This week my family along with many, many other St Marys families lost such a friend in Anne-Marie Halewood.
Words on this page cannot and will not do justice to the contribution made by and the legacy left by Anne-Marie. From a non-football background, she was quick to put her hand up as team manager as a way of supporting the game that her boys loved in what is now the Under 15’s age group. Her dedication, ability & enthusiasm as a team manager quickly put her on the radar for the highly demanding job of registrations director when it became available two years ago. True to the person she was, Anne-Marie was quick to agree to take on this role despite the demanding professional and family life she already led.
Her contribution as a committee member went quickly beyond being a highly efficient and innovative registrar to being an intelligent, thoughtful and productive voice at our meetings. Often as a member of any committee you receive more criticism than thanks, however nobody I have come across at our club has ever had a bad word to say about Anne-Marie.
Anne-Marie’s lasting legacy is as an absolute champion of the core values that St Marys Greensborough Junior Football Club holds so dear, that of getting a fair go and giving every child in our community the opportunity to participate in organised team sport, no matter their background or circumstances. Anne-Marie was enthusiastic about attracting and encouraging boys & girls from culturally diverse backgrounds to our club, and this can be shown in no better way than her personal envisaging and organisation of our inaugural Indigenous Round celebrations. The success of this day and night will live long in the memory of all involved and we hope will become a long standing tradition at St Marys in the years to come.
My favourite story is of her first year as registration director on registration day when Anne-Marie was approached by a mother with her young prospective tackers boy in tow. The mother asked what our registration fees and the associated costs of uniform etc were and on being told turned regretfully to her son and told him that they could not afford this. The mother then went to leave and despite the queue forming at her desk, Anne-Marie chased her into the car park and explained that we could offer a payment plan (which was honoured) and that she would personally go through her boys drawers and pass on any unneeded playing kit and merchandise she could find. This is one incident of her generosity that I am aware of, but have no doubt that there were many similar occasions that she did not share, such was her nature that she did not need or want personal kudos.
Our heart and sincerest of condolences go out to Ian, Jake & Ben in this most difficult time. In the weeks, months & years ahead, our club as a whole will be there for you in whatever way we can.
As a sign of respect, I ask that each team wears black arm bands in our first game back after the school holiday break, tape will be available at the canteen.