You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

The Southport Tigers and wider Gold Coast rugby league community has mourned the passing of 43-year volunteer Gail Manning - but the club is ensuring her legacy will live on.

Manning, or 'Mrs B' to those at the club, was a life member of her club and Rugby League Gold Coast, doing everything she could to make sure children and families could access the game and always left the Tigers' fields with a smile.

The 'Queen of Southport' passed away on January 10, aged 73, just a few weeks after signing off from club duties and receiving official recognition of her efforts from QRL with the awarding of a 40-year volunteer service pin.

Giving was her nature, not just in rugby league, with Manning also taking on leading roles in her over-50s social club and Euchre club, preparing food for charities supporting the homeless, helping victims of domestic violence through the Hearts of Purple organisation, and making sure the pupils at Bellevue Park State School got to the classroom safely as a lollipop lady - all while being a beloved mum of two and grandmother of eight.

Southport Tigers president Scott Mulligan said Manning would be sorely missed for her selfless, kind nature and her knowledge and work ethic to do anything that needed doing around the club.

Over her time she held positions of secretary, treasurer and registrar, but even without official titles would pick up any odd job on junior and senior game days, from making sure the bar was stocked to ordering gear.

"Her life was Southport, pretty much," Mulligan said.

"She was never about herself. The kids loved her because she'd sit there in the middle of field and talk to them, laughed with them and help the people who didn't have all the luxuries.

"She always put the kids and families before herself.

"She knew everyone and everyone would help her if she asked. The respect she had here and among Rugby League Gold Coast was massive."

When Manning did get a spare moment, she could be heard supporting her grandchildren running around on the field and would later proudly tell people about how they were improving and enjoying the game.

And because she made the effort to know as many players and their families as possible, Mrs B knew when they were struggling and was the first to take action to help.

Whether it was sourcing a pair of footy boots or fundraising to help cover the cost of registration, Manning was on the case.

Her legacy has seen the initiative formalised at the club into the future, with the Mrs B's Foundation established to support people in the Tigers family facing hardship.

The initial fundraiser for the foundation has come via the sale of shirts adorned with the number '43' and details highlighting the service of 'Mrs B' in the wake of her passing.

"Areas like Southport have a lot of struggling families, and the cost of living is going up, and we don't want to lose kids to sport, and we don't want finance being an issue," Mulligan said.

"She always did that little bit extra to make it happen."

Mulligan said Manning would be impossible to replace, but was hopeful her inspiration would encourage others to put their hand up.

"It's hard. Gail never stepped aside because there wasn't another Gail to take her place," he said.

"I think it's going to show our true character just who really does want to keep that- legacy going. I know I said to her I wouldn't quit."

Manning's son, Brian Bichel, said he too would be giving more time to the Tigers to help continue his mum's legacy and honour what the club means to the family.

"The club was always just a real good place to go for us and a real positive in our lives. That's why we've kept going back there," he said.

Bichel said his mum's love of rugby league, leading to a fierce passion for Queensland to the point she once famously shunned a NSW Blues great who offered up a handshake to congratulate her on her volunteerism, began long before becoming part of the Southport family in 1980.

Manning grew up in the inner-north Brisbane suburb of Wooloowin and would tag along with her dad to watch Easts Tigers in the BRL as a child.

Bichel said the family appreciated having so many people show their support following his mum's passing.

"We're humbled with all the beautiful messages we've been receiving from the rugby league community," he said.

Rugby League Gold Coast chairman Peter Daley said Manning, a previous registrar for the league, loved her club with unbridled passion and always had the interest of young players at heart.

"I couldn't speak highly enough of her. She was an exceptional person for Southport," he said.

"She was all about helping other people and keeping them in the game.

"You only had to see at the funeral, people from a lot of other clubs respecting Gail. She had an effect on not just her club, but the whole game on the Gold Coast."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Platinum Partners

View All Partners