GARRY Hill today paid tribute to Dave Waterman following the popular defender's departure from the Wessex Stadium.

The former Portsmouth centre half has left the Terras and is expected to hang up his boots to spend more time with his family.

Waterman was away from Weymouth on compassionate leave for much of last year, caring for his six-year-old son Oakley who was battling cancer.

Oakley lost his fight for life last August prompting a huge fund-raising appeal which netted in excess of £50,000 to buy a respite caravan for families affected by the disease.

Since returning to action, Waterman has featured only rarely this season and he and Weymouth have now agreed to part ways.

Boss Hill said: "Dave has had an awful lot on his plate recently and we've agreed to part ways on good terms.

"He's coming to say goodbye to the lads at training today and then wants to go and try and rebuild his life with wife Lorraine.

"When something like Dave's situation occurs it puts football into perspective. Nobody wants to go through what he has and I've got a great deal of sympathy for him and Lorraine.

"The club has done everything we could to support him in the past few months because that was the right thing to do.

"Dave returned to training and featured as substitute in a number of games but we've sat down, shook hands and agreed this decision was for the best.

"Dave has many friends at the club and it'll be fantastic to see him at the ground whenever he feels able to do so."

Meanwhile Weymouth were today thanked for the medical treatment given to Eastleigh midfielder Danny Smith during last weekend's Terras victory at the Wessex Stadium.

Smith required 15 stitches in a head wound following a sickening second half clash of heads with home defender Trevor Challis.

Eastleigh boss Paul Doswell said: "We can only thank Weymouth and their club doctor for the way they treated him.

"Danny was cut right across the forehead and there were pools of blood running into his eyes and you could actually see his skull."