One of football’s longest-serving club secretaries, Fencibles United Life Member Danna Mandry, has died in Auckland, aged 79.
She was the foundation secretary of Fencibles United when the club was formed through the merger of Howick AFC and Pakuranga Town AFC in 1997, and stepped down at the end of the 2019 season.
For many years, and to many people, Mandry was regarded as “the face of the club”.
During her time with the club, the woman known as ‘Mum’ to many young players, filled the role of women’s club captain, youth coordinator, building and facilities manager, bar manager, caterer, cleaner, and mentor to many of the youth players at the club.
In 2006, Mandry was awarded Life Membership at Fencibles United.
Three years later, her contribution to football was further recognised with a Long Service Medal from the Auckland Football Federation.
As recently as 2020, her work was still receiving accolades and she received a Services to Sport Award at the Howick Sports Awards.
When she received that award, the citation read: “Danna is one of those amazing people that has a wonderful sporty family and manages to juggle everything along with being 100% dedicated to her role of not only secretary but Mum to all the players.
“Her role as the face of the club has seen her go through so many changes but she is the one constant; the person you can always rely on, the person that is always there helping run everything or making sure everyone is doing as they should.
“Fencibles could not have run without her and her heart and love for the whole club.”
‘A unique personality … a provider of wise and caring advice’
In a tribute to Mandry, former Fencibles’ chairman Wilson Hawes (2009-15) said:
“Danna had a unique personality, a provider of wise and caring advice, common sense, a shoulder to cry on, a person to joke with, a keeper of your deepest secrets and someone to give you a ‘’clip around the ears’ when you deserved it. All done with love and calm serenity as she sat in the corner office of her beloved Riverhills.
“Above all, Danna was a family person and was immensely proud of the achievements of all her offspring, with a particular love for her grandkids and their many successes, most of which she witnessed as their number one supporter (well, first equal with Colin).
“She called her grandkids ‘a united nations’ with the best mix of many races from Fiji to Europe and into Asia and all with the wonderful personality of their parents. I know she felt truly blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful family, all of whom loved her without reservation.
“As her Fencibles family, we must offer special thanks to Colin, who shared his wife with us and was ever understanding and accepting of the time she gave to Fencibles, her ‘other family’.
“Let me assure the Mandry family that she was loved by us as well.
“I feel honoured to be able to offer some words on behalf of Fencibles United AFC on the passing of this simply amazing woman of mana and presence. Danna has set a wonderful example to us all and has left a legacy that will be long remembered.
“I am devastated at her loss and have had these feelings shared by many members who have contacted me since the news of her passing filtered out.”
The Fencibles club says it will find an appropriate way to honour Danna Mandry and her family in early 2023.
Danna Veronica Mandry (September 15, 1943 — December 14, 2022)
The following notice has appeared in the NZ Herald:
MANDRY, Danna Veronica. Born 15th September 1943 Suva, Fiji. Passed away peacefully at home, on Wednesday 14th December 2022 Daughter of Lola and Fred Smith, sister to Wally, Audrey and Dot. Beloved wife of Colin Mandry and mother to Adelita and Waisake, Paul and Bella, Ian and Mika. Super Nana to Hoskins, Kobe, Teuila, Hana, Freida, Gus, Tomi and Lola and many, many more. A Celebration of her life will be held in the All Saints Chapel, Purewa Crematorium, 100 St Johns Road, Meadowbank, Auckland on Thursday 22nd December 2022 at 12pm.
Through the publication of obituaries, Friends of Football tries to recognise the loss of those who have significantly contributed to our game.