Lismore hockey legend honoured at heartfelt memorial
A TRIBUTE has been held for Lismore hockey legend Gloria Mortimer, who passed away last week.
The memorial was hosted by the Lismore Swans Football Club at their home ground, Mortimer Oval, which was named in Mrs Mortimer's honour.
Club president Philip Tsourlinis said Mrs Mortimer was an influential person in her chosen sport, and even though his club played a different sport, they still had enormous respect for her contribution to the Northern Rivers.
"Even though Gloria is from a hockey background, we felt at the Lismore Swans that we needed to make sure we paid our respects to someone who obviously had a great and positive impact upon our community," he said.
"Mortimer Oval is our home ground and a very special field for us.
"We wanted to honour the person our field is named for.
"It's unprecedented that an oval would be named for someone who is still alive - normally that is done once someone passes away.
"Our club can take a lot of lessons out of what Gloria did and her contributions."
Granddaughter 'blown away' by tribute
Mrs Mortimer's granddaughter, Cassandra Wilkinson (nee Mortimer), said the family was touched by the gesture for their "beautiful" grandmother.
"We thought it was an awesome recognition for Grandma," she said.
"The fact these guys aren't associated with hockey in any way, but they still cared enough to do that, was something special.
"It was so thoughtful, so considerate.
"She was so proud of her oval, and rightfully so.
"She was pretty chuffed to be recognised for all her hard work and dedication."
Lifetime of achievements
Mrs Mortimer was born on November 11, 1927, and died on May 23, 2016.
She grew up in St Helena and started playing hockey with the Lismore Workers hockey club, going on to play for the Far North Coast and Hockey NSW.
She helped raise more than $30,000 to pay for the turfing at the Goonellabah Hockey Fields.
She managed Hockey NSW for almost six years, umpired games at a state level and represented, coached, managed and selected players for Far North Coast Hockey.
As part of her involvement with Far North Coast Hockey, Mrs Mortimer organised cultural exchange programs to America, Hawaii, New Zealand, Scotland, England and Japan.
In 1976 she was awarded life membership with Hockey NSW for her service, and 1982 she was named Lismore Sportswoman of the Year.
Tributes pour in for Gloria, a 'guiding light'
Posting on the Ballina Hockey Club's Facebook page, Helen Rankin Jarvie said Mrs Mortimer was passionate about her hockey.
"Some of you may be too young to know her personally, but we should all be thankful for her efforts in helping to secure the first astroturf field at Hepburn Park in the early 1990s," she wrote.
"Gloria was already well regarded within the hockey community when I was playing schoolgirls in the 1980s as she put her heart and soul into the sport.
"RIP Gloria - thanks for being such a wonderful guiding light."
Hockey NSW also posted a tribute to Mrs Mortimer, saying she "worked tirelessly for the betterment of hockey in her local area, raising funds for the turf at Goonellabah and providing inspiration for generations of hockey players".
"She will be sorely missed and her contributions to our sport never forgotten," the tribute said.
Mrs Mortimer is survived by her husband of 68 years, Ken.