Thursday, February 22, 2024

‘Friendly, brilliant’: Tributes paid to England hockey junior named as one of Nottingham victims

Tributes have been paid to “fiercely competitive” and talented hockey player Grace O’Malley-Kumar following the fatal stabbings in Nottingham, as the families of the victims attended a vigil on Wednesday.

Three people were killed and another three were taken to hospital after an attack in the early hours in the city.

Grace, 19, was a student at the University of Nottingham along with Barnaby Webber, who was also killed in the attack.

“It is with profound sadness that we have learned of the death of Grace, a huge talent and much loved member of Southgate U18’s & W1’s,” said the club she played for. “We are shocked and devastated by the news, our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Grace’s family, friends and teammates.”

Southgate observed a one minute’s silence after their evening games on Wednesday to remember Grace.

Earlier on Wednesday, a vigil took place took place in Nottingham, where the families of the victims attended alongside thousands of friends, fellow students, uni staff and members of the local community.

University of Nottingham Students Union representative Daisy said: “This is the last place that any of us wanted or expected to be.

“Barny and Grace are a monumental loss. They were first years with ambitions, potential and dreams – what was taken from us yesterday will never be given back and the shockwaves echo through our student community.”

England Hockey said it was “deeply saddened” to learn of Grace’s death in a statement posted on Wednesday morning.

“Grace was a popular member of the England U16 and U18 squads and our thoughts are with Grace’s family, friends, teammates and the whole hockey community at this time,” England Hockey said.

Grace attended Bancroft’s independent school in Essex. She also played for Southgate and competed for University of Nottingham in last season’s Women’s Premier Division. She had also previously competed for Essex Women at junior county cricket level.

John Shaw, a former highly-respected junior coach at Southgate, said: “Grace was a very talented and popular girl. Her family were hugely supportive of Grace with her hockey. Love and kindness to her family will always be there.”

“Such devastating news and an extremely sad day for the hockey family,” Nottingham-based Beeston HC addded on Twitter. 

“Our thoughts and love are with the families and friends of Grace and Barnaby.”

Adnan Zair, a fomer Pakistan international and British-based schools coach, said: “A tremendously sad day for hockey family. England Hockey has lost a future star.”

Meanwhile, Woodford Wells CC wrote on social media: “Devastated to hear the news about former Wells Baby Belles captain, Grace Kumar. A fiercely competitive, talented and dedicated cricketer and hockey player.”

Grace O’Malley-Kumar played for Southgate before moving to study at Nottingham PIC: Southgate HC

Barnaby was also a talented sportsman, having played for Taunton-based Bishops Hull Cricket Club.

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan described him as a “young cricketer gone far too soon”. 

He was also a hockey champion, having been part of Taunton School’s under-14 county team which gained top honours.

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