MOURNERS bid farewell yesterday to one of Southend AC’s greatest athletes.

Christina Frost, who competed under her former name Christina Persighetti, was one her generations best long jumpers, competing in the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

She died last week, aged 76, after a long and brave battle with cancer.

Her funeral was held yesterday in Rayleigh’s Our Lady of Ransom Church where the tributes included a wreath of flowers arranged in the shape of the Olympic rings.

Christina. who lived in Rayleigh, became national long jump champion at the age of 21 and trained under the legendary Southend AC coach George Holroyd.

She made the British team for the 1960 Olympics despite slipping a disc in her back just months before she was due to travel out to Rome.

Nevertheless, she made the trip to Italy, enjoying one of the experiences of her life.

“I went to Simpsons of Picadilly to be measured for the British outfits, skirts and gloves we had to wear at all the official functions,” Christina told the Echo in her Olympic Memories story we published in the build up to last summer’s London Games.

“Just being measured for a hand made skirt, jacket and gloves was so exciting for a girl from Southend. I’d never had anthing made especially for me before.”

Christina went on to finish 19th in the final, suffering in the ferocious Italian sunshine.

“I was disappointed that I did not do better. If it had not been for theheat I think I would have finished much higher,” she said.

Christina’s fight against cancer epitomised her spirit.

She told the Echo in April that she had set herself small targets.

“The first one was to make it to Christmas... and then to see the daffodils come out,” she said. “I’ve achieved both of them and now there are the Games.”

Christina’s daughter Francis had bought her mum tickets to the long jump final at the London Olympics as another target to aim for.

She survived to see this summer’s Games but did not have enough strength to tackle the trip to London to see the action live.

She died on October 31.