VALE: Tributes flow as Grafton school community mourns
COLLEAGUES and friends have remembered Trish Winters as a dedicated and well-loved member of the Grafton Public School community, as well as a stalwart of sporting groups in the area.
Ms Winters, who worked at the school as a school learning support officer, passed away aged 47 last Sunday after a battle with cancer.
School principal Michelle McDonagh said her passing had been a great loss to the Grafton Public School community and the Clarence Valley.
"Trish was a dedicated school learning support offer at Grafton Public School who worked closely with students requiring additional support, particularly in literacy," she said.
"She also worked with students with additional needs in our support unit.
"Trish was an active volunteer in the community, especially with many sporting organisations and was loved by many.
"Our deepest sympathies are with her family and friends at this difficult time."
One of Trish's friends and teammate at the Grafton United football club Lynn Rudder paid tribute to her commitment to the sporting clubs across the valley.
"She took on every role anyone ever asked her to," she said. "She was already on the committee at Grafton City and took on a role with Grafton United at the same time.
Ms Rudder said they had competed together in representative sports such as Masters Games and Pan Pacifics, and said she was as tough as they came.
"She was fierce, so was so tough," she said. "I've watched her break ribs, get knocked out, and she's come off, get straight back up and on again.
"With that, she was very much a mother to many of the others on her team. She gave great advice, and acted like a hub for everyone else."
Apart from her involvement in local football, Ms Winters also played tennis, and with her children involved in athletics and swimming, she was also heavily involved in volunteering with those sports.
"She never gave up on anything, and she was never scared of finding out the answer, and she kept going. She's just tenacious; she would do anything," Ms Rudder said.
Alongside teammate Tori, who owns JD's takeaway in South Grafton, they organised a fundraiser for the family through GoFundme to help the support the family through her cancer fight, and Ms Rudder said that everyone had banded together out of respect for Ms Winters.
"Our team, the women's team - it's more a family. These people do everything together, and you're never on your own, it's such a great feeling of community," Ms Rudder said.
"And because of that we feel like all of us have lost one of our own."
Ms Rudder said despite the tight-knit connection of their group and COVID concerns with Ms Winters immune system, the fundraising was part of how the group had "loved her from afar" during her fight.
"The way that love has surrounded her and her family this year has been fantastic," Ms Rudder said. "I hope they know how much she was loved, and how much she was cared for."
According to her funeral notice, released by Clarence Valley Funerals, Ms Winters was the much-loved daughter and daughter-in-law of Kevin & Rena Young (both dec) and Neil & Sue Winters. She was the cherished wife of Paul, much loved and adored mother of Sam, Bianca, Hayden, Stacey, Billy-Bob and Chelsea, treasured Nan Nan of Ava and Levi, much-loved sister, sister-in-law and aunt.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Trisha's funeral service, to be held at Sandy Bay Reserve, South Terrace, Wooli, on Monday December 7 commencing at 10am. A private cremation will follow.