Thu. May 30th, 2024

Pandemic claims Willesden stalwart

Melvin Gwanzura : 1977-2020

Melvin was one of the first league players I registered after becoming a Divisional Administrator and I see that in a match on which I reported in 2016 I noted the improvement he had engendered on joining the play. It is painful, therefore, to have to post the news of his falling victim to the Covid-19 virus on 22nd April.

Melvin Gwanzura

We found generous donations and heartfelt tributes on the crowd-funding page, Tributes published indicate that he similarly made an impression on everything he did and that he will be badly missed in the worlds in which he lived: family, church, school and sport to name just four. All will miss him and we especially express our condolences to his partner, Jai.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Melvin is remembered there for his contribution to life in the capital, Harare, as much for his talent and gifts as for his volleyball, testified in a tribute from the Joyful Noise Harare Christian Church among others. In London he was a well loved and respected teacher at St Charles’ Catholic VI Form College in North Kensington. The college describes him as an exceptional educator whose absence from the college community is a massive loss for he was loved and respected by his students and colleagues alike and his passing will deeply affect them all.

His London League registration card No.54 has been a familiar object on the scorer’s table at Willesden’s matches and it will be difficult to find a way to come to terms with such a loss. His coach and fellow player at the club, Stuart Fullerton recalls knowing Melvin on the London volleyball circuit for many years before he joined WillesdenVC playing for Inter..

Stuart added, “Melvin first came to our Friday and Sunday open sessions around 2010, I was impressed back then with his play as a left-handed opposite. His work ethic and integrity stood out. I was so happy when he agreed to join our men’s team. He registered with us in the same year and played until 2014. His contribution to the club was immense. Melvin became the men’s coach in 2012 and lead the men’s team to many memorable victories. He also was a role model and inspiration to many of our junior players including Nathan Fullerton, Omid Samadi, Seeyar Hanifi and Hamid Fazli. It was always a pleasure to see him at our Sunday open session even after he stopped playing for the men’s team. Melvin will be sorely missed by everyone at Willesden Volleyball Club.”

Team-mate Omid Samadi paid his own tribute: Melvin played for Willesden for many years. He was not just a player but also a good coach and captain who guided Willesden to many victories. He was my mentor and my friend who always had my back in many tournaments and matches. Sadly, he is no more with us but he will always be remembered in our hearts. RIP my dear friend.

Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton
Picture, Zion Walsh