Shelley Gregory.
Shelley Gregory. Contributed

Mother had endless enthusiasm

TWO of Rockhampton's leading young sportsmen have paid tribute to their mother, Shelley Gregory, who was killed in an accident at her home last week.

Sitting at a table festooned with flowers sent in tribute to their mum, Alden and Simon Gregory spoke warmly of a woman with "big energy and endless enthusiasm".

Alden, 23, said: "She was so positive and had an ability to make friends with everyone."

Shelley's sister, Jenny McDougall, described her as "vivacious with a natural ability to connect with people".

"The message on her phone said 'I love life and life loves me back.' It was her mantra. She had an incredible enthusiasm for life."

The circumstances surrounding her death are still something of a mystery but it appears Shelley took a fall from the top of her stairs while decorating.

She was found in the hallway of her Frenchville home on the evening of Tuesday, April 24.

She died in hospital as the sun was rising on Friday, April 27.

Asked what Shelley was most proud of in her life, Jenny had no hesitation.

"Her boys. They were everything to her," she said.

Shelley, 52, trained as a high-school teacher and worked at CQ TAFE teaching communications.

She also did consultancy work teaching skills to develop a positive workplace. Her natural verve and infectious personality made her a compelling tutor.

Through the boys, Shelley had a long association with Southside United Football Club.

"We lived on the south side of the city when I was small and I started playing for the club when I was about eight," said Alden, a central midfielder with the first team.

"In the early days she made a lot of time for the club - things like selling raffle tickets, running us around to training and games and washing the jerseys.

"She'd only just finished washing a load of jerseys when she had the accident," he said.

The boys said their fondest memories were being taken to the beach on the Sunshine Coast to spend time with their mum's family and the great efforts she made for special occasions like Easter, Christmas and birthdays.

"She enjoyed making other people feel special," Alden said.

Simon, 20, who also played football for Southside, lived in Sydney for two years after signing for the Penrith Panthers.

"I never felt like I was that far away. Mum was always calling and texting me with positive messages."

The front rower, an established member of Penrith's Under 20s, said his teammates said a prayer for Shelley before their game at the weekend.

Players wore black arm bands and observed a minute's silence before kick off as a mark of respect.

All the Southside teams playing last weekend also held a minute's silence, as did the Capricorn Cougars before their match. Alden represented the Cougars in previous seasons.

"When you look at all the flowers and all the messages, it's clear to us how much of an impact mum had on people.

"There's been so much support for us. People have even been bringing us meals," he said.

"I just want people to know that it does make a difference and Simon and I appreciate it. It's heart-warming to know how many people loved mum and want to take care of us."

A service to celebrate Shelley's life will be held at the Leichhardt Tree Memorial Gardens in Nerimbera at 3pm tomorrow.

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