In­debted to UWC – Ch­ester’s wi­dow

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE - VINCENT CRUYWAGEN [email protected]

MARIA Wil­liams, the wi­dow of rugby great Ch­ester Wil­liams, in an emo­tional trib­ute at his me­mo­rial ser­vice yes­ter­day, said that when all the doors closed for him in South African rugby, UWC kindly opened one.

She said this to a packed hall with some of the 1995 World Cup team, in­clud­ing cap­tain Fran­cois Pien­aar and sev­eral other great rugby play­ers who came to pay their last re­spects to the rugby icon, who died on Friday of a heart at­tack aged 49.

She sin­gled out UWC di­rec­tor of sport Mandla Ga­gayi for giving “Chessie” that opportunit­y and said the fam­ily would al­ways be in­debted to the UWC.

“MandIa, I want to thank you from the bot­tom of our hearts what you did for Ch­ester four years ago. You al­lowed Ch­ester to res­tart his ca­reer in South Africa. All his life he had to fight to get a po­si­tion in South Africa.”

Pub­lic Works Min­is­ter Pa­tri­cia de Lille in her keynote ad­dress said Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa had de­clared Wil­liams’s fu­neral an of­fi­cial pro­vin­cial fu­neral. She spoke more on the lighter mo­ments of Wil­liams’s life, adding that they spent many hours to­gether.

“What I most re­mem­ber about Ch­ester is his love and care for the com­mu­nity. When we had this big drug prob­lem in South Africa, we ran this cam­paign to show that drugs are not just a prob­lem of a drug ad­dict but a prob­lem for all of us.”

Acting UWC rec­tor and vice-chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Pamela Dube, in pay­ing trib­ute to “coach Ch­ester”, said Wil­liams was an out­stand­ing men­tor to the stu­dents.

“He was a liv­ing ex­am­ple of hu­man po­ten­tial. The fam­ily’s pain is the pain we share. In­deed this a mo­ment for us to share the bells of vic­tory to cel­e­brate the life of coach who made dif­fer­ence to our rep­u­ta­tion and changed the lives of the sports­men un­der his guid­ance.”

Pien­aar said what Wil­liams gave to the sport was “re­mark­able and can never be for­got­ten”.

PHANDO JIKELO African News Agency (ANA)

CH­ESTER Wil­liams’s fam­ily sing dur­ing the me­mo­rial ser­vice for the rugby le­gend at UWC. Wil­liams was the univer­sity’s rugby team coach. |

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