4 Jun 2016

Families gather to remember Jerry Collins

11:21 am on 4 June 2016

The families of the late All Black Jerry Collins and his partner, Alana Madill, are gathering in Porirua this weekend, to mark the anniversary of their deaths.

Sonny Bill Williams and Jerry Collins in Toulon in 2008.

Jerry Collins in Toulon in 2008. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Mr Collins and Ms Madill were killed in a car crash in France a year ago on Sunday.

Their 14-month old daughter, Ayla, who was injured, is among the family group.

A headstone for Mr Collins's grave in Porirua is being unveiled today and the families will also attend events at the Northern United Rugby Club over the weekend.

Jerry Collins announces his retirement from first-class rugby in 2008.

Mr Collins announces his retirement from first-class rugby in 2008 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

A spokesperson, Tim Castle, said both families were deeply grateful for the love and support they had received from people everywhere.

He said Ayla's recovery from her serious injuries was inspiring and she was cherished by both families.

The families have asked for privacy over the weekend.

Porirua march for Jerry Collins

The march in Porirua in honour of the ex-All Black. Photo: RNZ / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Collins played 48 Tests for the All Blacks as a blindside flanker, captaining the team three times and scored five tries. He debuted for Wellington in 1999, and played for the Hurricanes until 2008 before heading overseas to play in France, Wales and Japan.

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The plaque at Jerry Collins Stadium in Porirua. Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp

He was well loved in his home suburb Porirua, where thousands marched to pay tribute to him last year, and a stadium in the suburb has been named in his honour.

About 4000 people attended his memorial service, where he was described as a "larger-than-life character" by his teammates and a "hero" by his family.

Porirua march for Jerry Collins

A crowd of thousands marched last year in Porirua to pay tribute. Photo: RNZ / Daniela Maoate-Cox

The crowd at Porirua's Te Rauparaha Arena.

His memorial service at Te Rauparaha Arena. Photo: RNZ/ Max Towle

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