It’s with sadness that the Clarke family announces the death of Olga Jekyll, a doyen on New Zealand Fencing, aged 95. The last nearly three years have been a challenge for Olga after having to leave her home following the February, 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Living in a rest home and slowly losing independence didn’t suit one of the more independent minded individuals to grace a fencing piste and that was a frustration for her. Failing health saw her admitted to hospital last week. She died peacefully on Tuesday evening.
Olga’s involvement with fencing spanned over 70 years and her influence touched many people. A fierce and successful competitor she was a four times National Champion, a National representative on a number of occasions, including the 1950 Empire Games, and a Life Member of the Association.
But it was as a coach and club administrator that she made her biggest impact giving the opportunity to literally thousands of people of all ages to experience our sport. Many of those individuals went on to achieve National representation at age group and open level as a result of her encouragement and support. She was also a founding member of the United Fencing Club. Her commitment and achievement were recognised by the NZ Honours system with the award of a Queen’s Service Medal for Community Service, something Olga was rightfully very proud of.
Thanks to all of those who, over many years, gave her much pleasure and friendship as she pursued her passion for fencing. There will be an opportunity to recognise Olga’s contribution to fencing at this year’s National Championships.
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