Queensland motorsport has been saddened by the news of the death of former Leyburn Sprints President Ann Collins, who has lost a short but courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Ann and her well-known racer husband Mike were the driving force behind the establishment of the Leyburn Sprints on the Darling Downs near Toowoomba 23 years ago.
Collins was the inaugural President of the Leyburn Sprints Committee and held that position for 20 years before dropping back to the position of Vice President three years ago.
While a tireless worker for the Leyburn event, Ann was also a major supporter of Mike and his own motorsport activities both in Australia and Internationally, including an appearance in his Mustang at Pikes Peak in the US.
Ann and Mike married in 1968 and initially made a life in Inala, Brisbane.
In 1976 they purchased a property just outside Leyburn and moved there full time four years later.
Ann had many facets to her life, including the daily running of the family hay contracting business, Collins Hay, as well as varied community positions.
She joined the Clifton Shire Council in 1994, and became the first, and last, female mayor of the Shire from 1997 to 2004 (Clifton Shire Council has since been amalgamated with Toowoomba Regional Council).
Along with her many achievements, she was also President of the Leyburn P&C, Clifton Show Society and Chairman of the Darling Downs Moreton Rabbit Board (DDMRB).
She was most recently the Chairman of the board for the Australian Fodder Industry Association, only standing down at the end of last year.
Longtime Queensland motorsport and motoring PR man Chris Nixon paid tribute to Collins.
“Ann was a wonderful lady who had an enormous passion for everything she became involved in,” Nixon told Speedcafe.com.
“The commitment from Ann and Mike (Collins) to the Leyburn Sprints over many years can never be overstated.
“If it needed to be done then Ann would do it and she was the driving force behind making the Leyburn Sprints one of the most successful events of its type in Australia.”
Ann’s funeral will be held on Wednesday March 7 at St Matthew’s Catholic Church, Leyburn at 11am, followed by interment at the Leyburn cemetery.
Speedcafe.com offers its condolences to Mike, Ann and Mike’s five adult children Paul, Mark, Wayne, Chris and Tricia, their respective partners, and their seven grandchildren.