Netball received great recognition at the 46th Annual Torch Trophy Awards last week at the Army and Navy Club in London.
Over 100 volunteers in sport enjoyed the evening hosted by His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex, Christine Janes MBE, Roger Uttley OBE and Torch Trophy Trust President Sir Bobby Charlton CBE.
Amongst the guests were England Netball members Doreen Willcocks and Sheila Clark, who both received awards for their invaluable contributions to netball over many years.
“I’m just about getting over it,” said Doreen, overwhelmed with her achievement.
Netball has been a tremendous part of Doreen’s life, having worked for 63 years developing the sport. As a teenager, Doreen launched Pinehurst Netball Club in Swindon, which recently celebrated its 62nd birthday.
Being a true ambassador to netball, Doreen has recruited countless volunteers, introduced an over-35 league for mature players and a weekly sports club for people with disabilities.
A committed fundraiser, Doreen has raised a staggering £100,000 for Churchill Hospital in Oxford and still finds the time to raise money for Cancer Research.
“The evening really was special,” continued Doreen. “I spent some time talking to Sir Bobby Charlton who was very down to earth. My father was a professional footballer for Sheffield Wednesday some time ago so we had something in common!”
Doreen also spoke to the Trust’s recently appointed patron, Prince Edward, about her hopes of netball being recognised as an Olympic sport.
Representing netball in the north was Sheila Clark, a founder member of Bury Ladies Netball League, which is now celebrating its 50th season. Sheila has helped the league grow from six to 65 teams and has served on its committee for 35 years as umpire secretary, ensuring that each of the 24 matches played each week has two qualified umpires.
Sheila was instrumental in developing an Umpire Training Scheme, which has been adopted by many leagues in Greater Manchester.
Attending the award celebrations with the two winners was Cheryl Danson, Chairman of England Netball. She said: “I am delighted that two outstanding volunteers have been presented with a national award in recognition of their voluntary work for netball.
“This is a well deserved honour for both of them and it was a great pleasure to be present at the event and celebrate with them.”