Basketballers, both amateur and experienced, turned out in droves at Goodwin Sports Centre to honour passed away fellow player Mathilde le Toquin.
It was an event of joy, sweat and bittersweetness, as the memory of Mathilde was celebrated with an activity-filled day organised by three of her former teammates and friends.
The organisers, Mem Swanborough, Nikhita Chandar, and Bethany Rutherford set up the event and were joined by Mathilde’s friends from swimming and basketball, coursemates and family members.
Mem said: “It’s been really exciting, I think we were all a bit nervous but we’ve had a great turnout.
“Having so many people feels really nice, it reflects that she was just a great person, even though not everyone here plays basketball.
“Seeing everyone else try would probably mean quite a lot to her.”
The day consisted of several basketball games and practices followed by a drinks reception and raffle at Interval Cafe Bar in the evening.
Nikhita said: “ I’m really proud of us actually because we’ve organised a really good event and I think Mathilde would be really proud of us too.
“It’s been such a good turnout, there’s people that knew her that were coursemates, her friends from home, her family came to Sheffield for today, so it’s really nice to see everyone come together.
“She would be really proud of us and be so happy that she’s touched so many lives, which I think is a really nice thing.
Nikhita’s feelings were echoed by Bethany, who said: “It’s really exciting because Mathilde loved basketball so it’s a great way to celebrate her memory.
“It’s just a really fun day for everyone that knew her to get involved and get together to celebrate her life.
Reflecting on their fondest memories of her, Nikhita said: “It was definitely the Varsity game at the end of first year.
“We had just played against Hallam and had the best score we had ever had and I remember being on court and looking at Mathilde and ran over to her and she picked me up and swung me around.
“It was nice to connect with her through a sport.”
Bethany recalls: “Last year on Halloween we went together as zombie basketballers, and she helped me with my zombie make-up because I wasn’t very good at it.
“It summed up her love for basketball and her love for helping others and it was one of my favourite moments of her.
Meanwhile, Mem said: “Mathilde was the most motivated and kind hearted person you’d ever meet.
“It is pretty inspiring when your friend is able to achieve everything she sets out to do and still make so much time for her friends and family, that it makes you realise how great she was.
“It sounds a bit silly but whenever I think about her I think about this day. One day Mathilde drove herself and me to officiate a couple of games over at EIS.” She added.
“We had a nice time during the game just chatting and on the way back went to tesco and bought some snacks and chilled a bit.
“I don’t think I’d ever spent that much time alone with her and we weren’t super close, but I remember coming home and saying to my housemate what a nice chilled evening I’d had and how I wanted to become better friends with her.
“Don’t know why I remember that so well but it just reminds me what a lovely person she was, and how lucky we all were to know her.”