Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Tributes flow for club rugby player as fundraiser tops $100,000

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Cory Heather was a director at Woodstar Construction Ltd. Photo supplied

The online fundraiser created to support the grieving family of east Auckland rugby player Cory Heather, who died after being injured in a recent match, has blown past $100,000 in just one day.

Heather, 33, sustained a severe brain injury while playing for his Beachlands Maraetai Rugby Club in an Under 85kg match at Te Puru Park in Beachlands on April 27.

He was flown to Auckland City Hospital by the Auckland Rescue Helicopter but tragically passed away surrounded by his loved ones the following night.

A Givealittle page set up by family friends Candice Attwell and Ashleigh Cometti had reached $107,968 in 21 hours from 1268 donors as of 9.30am today.

It was set up to help support Heather’s partner Rachel Hurcombe and three children, aged five, four, and one.

“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.”

In a statement to the Times, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Mark Robinson says he shares the organisation’s deepest condolences and love to Heather’s family.

“Our thoughts are also with the Beachlands Maraetai Rugby Club and the local region who will be feeling the immense loss of a much loved member of their community.

“Please know that all of New Zealand rugby is with you.

“NZR is providing support alongside Counties Manukau Rugby Union and the New Zealand Rugby Foundation.”

Heather was a director at building company Woodstar Construction Ltd.

His Instagram page contains numerous photos depicting an active young father who loved his partner and children.

Numerous rugby clubs from across the country have shared their sympathies on the Beachlands Maraetai Rugby Club’s Facebook page following Heather’s tragic death.

The Bombay Rugby Club wrote: “We want to pass on our sincere condolences to Cory’s family, friends and the Beachlands Maraetai Rugby community on his tragic passing.

“Our thoughts are with you all.”

The Waiuku Rugby Club says: “We are so sorry to hear this sad news. We send all our love to Cory’s family, friends and club mates.”

While Auckland University Rugby Football Club chairperson Dave Hutchens says: “Passing on all our love, in particular to Cory’s family, friends, team and club mates.

“Absolutely heart-breaking and unfathomable news to hear today.

“Our thoughts are with you all.”

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

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