Ulster sporting and education circles have paid tribute to teacher and former North Down hockey player Lesley Scates who has died following a car accident.
The well-known coach, who was in her 30s, taught PE at Nendrum College in Comber and is the wife of Bangor FC manager Garth Scates.
The mother-of-two passed away yesterday, having failed to recover from injuries sustained in a collision near Comber last week.
Kelli Thornton, who ran the Stick2Hockey coaching courses along with Mrs Scates, described her friend and business partner as “a wonderful girl” who was very well-known in the hockey world and “very committed” to the sport.
“She touched so many people’s lives.
“Just a wonderful person, wonderful mother, wife, friend, teacher, coach.
“Everything she did she put 100 per cent into it,” Mrs Thornton said.
“She made a lot of friends by just being herself and she had a lot of influence on people, which you never know, unfortunately, until something like this happens.
“It’s such a shame that it’s come down to this - leaving a family with small children - but she has a very close-knit family and a wonderful family network.
“Such a shame that someone has been taken so early in life.
“She was also very involved in the GB, the church and a lot of extracurricular activities within the school,” Mrs Thornton added.
A simple message posted on the Nendrum College website read: “The thoughts and prayers of staff and pupils are with are with Mrs Scates and her family at this time.”
Mrs Scates played hockey for Ulster u16s, North Down, and is a former captain of Belfast Harlequins.
Her husband Garth is a former Linfield midfielder who is currently managing Bangor in the Irish League Championship 1.
Responding to news of the tragedy, North Down MLA Peter Weir posted his condolences on the Twitter website saying: “Our thoughts and prayers should be with Bangor manager Garth Scates and his young family on the devastating tragic loss of his wife.”
A Facebook page posted by pupils at Nendrum College paid tribute to the popular teacher they described as “the most beautiful angel in Heaven”.
It added: “Love you more than the world Mrs Scates”.
The North Down hockey website carried the message: “On behalf of everyone at North Down we would like to pass on our deepest sympathies to Lesley’s husband Garth, their two young daughters and all of the family circle.”