A TALENTED sportswoman was last night described as a “true inspiration” after her death from cancer at the age of 34.

Nick Race, from Welbury, near Northallerton, died in Teesside Hospice, Middlesbrough, on March 7 after a long battle with the disease.

She was member of Northallerton Hockey Club, and was voted the club’s player of the season in 2016, despite having played much of the year while undergoing chemotherapy. The club held a minute’s silence in her honour at the weekend. Paying tribute to her, club captain Rachel Swain said: “Nick was a big part of the club. Her will and determination not to give up inspired all players around her.

“Her encouraging words to other players during games spurred them on reach a ball, intercept a pass or go and score a goal.

“Even when she was undergoing treatment her passion and commitment to the team and the game did not alter. She was a great player, with an amazing drive which influenced all players on the pitch. She was a true inspiration to all players at Northallerton Hockey Club.”

Nick lived in Australia for many years, where she was a popular figure in the towns of Carnamah and Esperance, Western Australia.

She played hockey for the Esperance Emus, where she was named the club’s “fairest and best” player for several years, and was also well known in the town’s golfing and racing communities.

In July 2015, she decided to move home to be nearer her family, who at the time were organising a hog roast and dance to raise funds for two cancer charities. She surprised her parents, sister, brother, sister-in-law and nieces by turning up just hours before the event, and made her entrance during the fundraising auction carrying a jewellery holder she had made.

It had been thought she would not be able to make it home in time for the event due to her treatment.

Nick told the 600 guests: “I’ve had to jump on a rollercoaster in the last few years and ride out whatever twists and turns it takes. I want to share everything I can to prevent anyone else from being in this situation.”

Her funeral will take place at St Leonard’s Church in Welbury on Friday, March 16 at 10.30am. All are welcome. The dress code is no black ties. Any donations in her memory will be shared by St Leonard’s and Teesside Hospice.