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East Auckland club rugby player dies from injury

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Beachlands Mareatai Rugby Club player Cory Heather died after being injured in a game on April 27. Photo by Jiachen Lin on Unsplash

More than $20,000 has been raised online for the grieving family of an east Auckland club rugby player who died after being injured during a recent match.

The Givealittle page states Cory Heather, who played for the Beachlands Maraetai Rugby Club, sustained a severe brain injury during the game on April 27.

He died surrounded by family and friends the following night.

The fundraising page was created by family friends Candice Attwell and Ashleigh Cometti to help support Heather’s partner Rachel Hurcombe and three children, aged five, four, and one.

It was created on April 29 and has raised $20,925 in just three hours from 192 donors.

“A bright spark who lead an exceptional life and will be so dearly missed,” the page says of Heather.

“We love you forever, fly high Cory.

“If you are willing and able to support, we would appreciate donation for Rachel and her children during this heart-breaking time.”

Cory Heather was a director at building company Woodstar Construction. Photo supplied

A statement posted on Facebook today, April 29, by Beachlands Maraetai Rugby Club (BMRC) says the club is mourning the loss of Heather, a senior player who “passed away as a result of an accident in Saturday’s Under 85kg match at Te Puru Park, Beachlands”.

“On behalf of BMRC, president James Gemmell has shared the club’s condolences with Cory’s family and loved ones at this tragic time.

“Cory was a much-loved member of the Senior Under 85kg team, the club and wider community.

“The club is heartbroken by Cory’s passing. His family, friends and teammates, all have our love and support.

“We understand the accident will have been traumatic for many involved, including the opposition, match officials and spectators.

“We’d also like to sincerely thank the members of the community and first responders who came to Cory’s aid.”

Gemmell says the club is working closely with Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union and the NZ Rugby Foundation (NZRF) to support Heather’s family, the BMRC senior team and all those impacted.

His post encourages anyone needing support following Heather’s death to contact the NZRF.

An earlier Facebook post by the club expressed thanks to people who came to the aid of a player during the game in Te Puru Park on Saturday.

“The club’s thoughts are with the player concerned, and his family,” it said.

“Thank you to the community for their well wishes, however please respect their privacy by refraining from unnecessary commentary on social media.”

The Givealittle page is online at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/support-for-rachel-hurcombe-and-her-family.

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