Community mourns 'heart and soul' of Nambour rugby league
THE SUNSHINE Coast rugby league community is mourning the loss of one of its first ladies.
Ann Deschamps and her husband Bert were integral in the formation of the Nambour Crushers in the 1980s.
The devoted pair helped turn arch rivals Souths and All Whites into one banner which laid the foundations for today's success.
Last week Ann died aged 75. She left behind six children and a lasting influence on rugby league in the region.
This Saturday, family and friends are invited to attend Ann's celebration of life at Gregson and Weight Chapel in Nambour at 10am.
The Deschamps' youngest daughter Kym O'Leary said her parents were rarely apart and her childhood memories always contained football.
"My mum was a tough woman, not in a bad sense, she would just do whatever she could for her kids," Mrs O'Leary said.
"She knew a hard days work. She was amazing. Whatever mum did, dad did too. And so on.
"Having four kinds under the age of five, then another two, they didn't have much but they never had to have the best of anything.
"Dad was probably the face of the club, but mum did so much of the work. They just loved providing juniors with something to do."
Mrs O'Leary said she recalled her parents regularly picking up other children and taking them to football to ensure they weren't up to mischief.
She said her parents were the type of people to do all the behind the scenes work, without looking for praise.
It was in the early 1980s when the Deschamps' legacy was started. They were staunch Souths supporters, before Crushers were Crushers.
But the pair, aided by a committee of driven people with one vision helped form the club from the ground up.
Former club secretary Rhonda Paul knew them well.
"Ann was very family-orientated but she would put her heart and soul into everything," Mrs Paul said.
"They didn't stand for bullshit, very straight down the line and very loyal to the club.
"For a whole year the committee worked for a year to form Crushers. They were all very level headed and came up with the right solution.
"They had to put some of their own money in I understand."
Sunshine Coast Falcons chairman Ashley Robinson said Mr and Mrs Deschamps essentially started rugby league in Nambour.
"It is very sad, they both did so much for the game," he said.
"They were a real driving force in league. They were involved for that long.
"What they did, particularly for juniors, was really special."