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Nelson's memory lives on

The memory of Benalla’s Tina Nelson lives on at Benalla P-12 College with the creation of the Tina Nelson Kind-hearted Award.

MONIQUE FREER February 21, 2014 11:37am

Kind-hearted: Eloise Armstrong was awarded the inaugural Tina Nelson kind-hearted award.


The memory of Benalla’s Tina Nelson lives on at Benalla P-12 College following the presentation of the inaugural Tina Nelson Kind-hearted Award last week.

Eloise Armstrong, six, was awarded the prize at an assembly earlier this month after being selected as the most kind-hearted Prep student at Benalla P-12 College Waller St campus last year.

The award was initiated by Matt Nelson and his sons Claude and Hamish, who are students at the school.

Their wife and mother died suddenly in March last year after suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes the muscle of the heart to become thickened without any obvious cause.

‘‘The award we set up in Tina’s name at the school is for the most kind-hearted Prep,’’ Mr Nelson said.

‘‘It’s something that I was pretty keen to do and because the school — everything that they’ve done for me and the boys — and Tina being a very giving person, I thought it was appropriate to do something that Tina would do in terms of giving something back and to raise some awareness of the heart condition.’’

Mrs Nelson was diagnosed with the disease when she gave birth to Hamish in 2003, although it was only ever classified as mild.

She became a passionate advocate for HeartKids after both her sons were diagnosed with the same heart condition following the birth of her second son Claude in 2007.

Mr Nelson said the Prep teacher selected Eloise as a worthy winner, and was told she was a wonderful, compassion, caring girl.

‘‘She is a very worthy winner that sets the bar very high for future winners,’’ he said.

Eloise said when she learnt she was the winner of the inaugural award she ‘‘felt great inside’’.

‘‘My mum and dad were being very proud and my Nan and Nana were proud,’’ she said.

The grade one student said she thought she was chosen because she tried to be nice, she did the right thing when nobody was watching, she helped people when they were hurt, used her words, picked up the rubbish and always came quickly when her name was called.

As well as the perpetual award Eloise received a $50 ToyWorld voucher donated by the Nelson family.

‘‘The boys and I will continue to have an annual award in Tina’s name; we’ll provide the voucher each year and it’s something that we’re keen to commit to on an annual basis,’’ Mr Nelson said.

Eloise said she used her voucher to purchase a pool slide, which she wanted to share with her parents, Wally and Kate, and her siblings Lillian and Zachary.

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