That was how Vice Minister for Sport and Member for Kagua-Erave, Wesley Raminai, described the late Nightingale when sending his condolences to the family and friends of the man who was affectionately known as ‘Papa Guria’.
Raminai said Nightingale’s contribution to the Agmark Gurias rugby league franchise in PNG’s premier competition, Digicel Cup, was an example of excellence in sports.
“Agmark Guria is a renowned sporting entity that has set some high benchmarks and the late John Nightingale is one of the main reasons behind this,” Raminai said.
“There are many young men who owe their sporting careers to him. Agmak Gurias’ approach to sport in terms of professionalism is on another level and aside from the top quality football they produce, the welfare of players and officials is also appropriately covered, providing employment aside from just match payments.
“It is because of the vision and commitment of men like John Nightingale that Agmark Gurias has won premierships, is a regular finals contest in the Digicel Cup finals and is always a very tough side to beat during the regular season – year in year out – a consistent football franchise when it comes to top quality.
“His (Nightingale) contribution to rugby league was not only confined to Gurias but the PNG Rugby Football League would have appreciated his contribution to helping out with programs like the SP Hunters and others.”
Raminai said he found Nightingale to be someone who has really blended in very well into the PNG culture and will be dearly missed, not just by his family and friends, but many others whose lives he touched.
The Nightingale family’s contribution was not only restricted to rugby league but other sports as well, especially golf through his wife Darrie who represented Papua New Guinea on a number of occasions.
“While Darrie was flying the PNG flag proudly at events like the Pacific Games, her husband John would have been right behind her, making a significant contribution to her success at the national and international level,” Raminai said.
“The late John Nightingale was a reputable businessman and the business community will no longer benefit from his experience and the value he provided to the agricultural sector through NGIP Agmark Limited.”
The late Nightingale was the Managing Director of NGIP Agmark Limited at the time of his death.
He passed away at 10.30am on Tuesday, May 19th, at Lismore hospital, New South Wales, after battling cancer for the past six months.