- Devastated community is mourning death of Samara Whitney
- Hundreds gathered at local school in Tasmania for her funeral
- Talented footy star, 16, died suddenly last week
Hundreds of mourners have gathered at a local school in Tasmania to pay their respects to 16-year-old footballer Samara Whitney who died suddenly last week.
Whitney was remembered fondly at a heartbreaking service at Marist Regional College in Burnie – as friends, family and footy mates said farewell to the rising star.
Whitney’s white coffin was decorated with football boots, jumpers and a trophy.
‘You were not just my baby girl. You were my best friend, my greatest achievement, my mini me,’ said Whitney’s mother, Kym Smitheram. ‘You were one-in-a-million.’
She described her daughter as ‘kind-hearted and passionate’. She also said she was beautiful ‘inside and out’.
Hundreds of mourners have gathered to pay their respects to Tamara Whitney (pictured middle)
The 16-year-old Tasmanian football star passed away suddenly on September 5
‘I love you, our little pocket rocket. Keep kicking those goals,’ Smitheram said.
Whitney’s footy coach, Tim Grey, also spoke at the service.
‘First game, seeing this little girl, knee-high to a grasshopper, up against some 17-year-olds who were fairly big….it was clear she had a special talent about her,’ he said.
‘Little did I know, over the years, I was about to see first-hand how special that talent was.’
Whitney’s boyfriend Alister said she drove him to better himself.
‘She was a bit of a role model to me,’ he said.
‘I found myself trying to improve myself. She was always trying to make me a better person in every way she could.
‘Samara, if you’re listening, I miss you so much. I’d give anything to talk to you just one more time.
Whitney’s teammates formed a guard of honour and sang her football club’s song as her coffin was carried out on Thursday
‘Thank you so much for all the time we had together and all the memories we made. I’ll always remember you for the rest of my life.
‘No matter what, you’ll always have a special place in my heart. I promise to make you proud.’
Whitney’s sister Tiarna said she fondly recalled Samara’s laugh and smile.
‘You were the prettiest girl with such a heart of gold,’ she said.
‘You never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Your mannerism, your happy demeanour and your maturity made me so proud as a big sister.’
Friends of the family have banded together and raised more than $30,000 to help cover the funeral costs.
Teammates of Samara formed a guard of honour and sang her football club’s song as her coffin was carried out.
For confidential 24-hour support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.