Vale Grace Martin

Published Sat 15 Jun 2024

Vale Grace Martin

It is with great sadness that Football Canterbury advises our community football members and constituents of the passing of Grace Martin.

Grace had been the initial driving force behind the instigation of female participation in football by girls and women commencing in the 1970s.

Until recently, Grace had maintained an active role in football, having commenced her involvement with the Belmore Police Boys Club, as it was known in the 1960s. In 1972, Grace and her husband Tony founded the Roselands Soccer Club.

Grace held multiple positions over the next four decades at the club and had significant roles within the Association, including that of Registrar.

When the first adult female competition commenced in the 1970s, Grace Martin donated the inaugural trophy for annual presentation to the competition premiers.

Today, the Football Canterbury's flagship competition is the Grace Martin Trophy. Recognition for Grace's pioneering role in developing and promoting female participation in football. Participation is not just about players. It is also for officiating and administrative roles in football.

In 2013, Football Canterbury inaugurated the Vince and Val Laws Medal. The medal is presented annually to an individual whose contribution to football in the Association is extraordinary and exceptional. Grace was the first recipient of the Vince and Val Laws medal, having been the panel's unanimous choice, including Vince and Val Laws, after whom the medal was named.

Football NSW had also acknowledged Grace Martin's contribution to football some twenty-one years earlier, when in 1992, Grace received a State Award for her services to football at the community level. Grace was a life member of Roselands Soccer Club and was awarded life membership in 1982 with her husband Tony.

Despite some health challenges in recent years, Grace still attended fixtures when able to do so, supported by her daughter, Christine and her granddaughters. Grace was also a feature at the Association's Cec Barlow Awards and Vince and Val Laws Medal evenings.

With Grace's passing, the cloak of oblivion will not diminish her contribution to female participation and involvement in football. Long before it became "fashionable" to advocate for female participation, Grace had already had her name inscribed as a pioneer in the game within Football Canterbury.

Our thoughts and sympathies go to Grace's family, particularly her daughter, Christine Bartels.


[Photo: MMS Solutions]