Dinner honours netball volunteers

Twenty-six members of the New South Wales netball community were acknowledged and celebrated at this year’s President’s Dinner for their significant contribution to the sport.

Held on Saturday 7 June at Wests Leagues Club in Leumeah, the President’s Dinner paid tribute to those volunteers within the NSW netball community who have given tirelessly over a substantial period of time.

The 26 recipients, who have all given 40-plus years of service to netball, were nominated by their respective Associations for special acknowledgement at this function, with their combined years of netball voluntary work equating to 1,245 years.

“It’s wonderful to have so many brilliant, awesome, staggering women in one room, at one time, so we can acknowledge them – I just get blown away by this,” said Netball NSW President Wendy Archer AM after the conclusion of the evening’s formalities.

“When I read that figure (1245 hours), I’m not joking; my jaw I think hit the ground. I thought ‘that can’t be right, that’s got to be a mistake’ – but it’s not, because when you add them up, that is just mindboggling.

“It’s really hard to think that that group of women we saw standing out the front there (at the function) put in that amount of years, not hours, but years. “We couldn’t begin to calculate the amount of hours that have gone into making up those years of service, because it’s all voluntary and they’re just so humble,” Archer said.

Those acknowledged on this night;
Marie Mackney, Lismore Netball Association, 62 years of service
Adele Saunders OAM, Newcastle Netball Association, 62 years of service
Dorothy Lockwood, Tamworth Netball Association, 62 years of service
Nance Dwyer, Newcastle Netball Association, 61 years of service
Pam Guyer, Macleay Netball Association, 55 years of service
Brenda Williams, Ku-ring-gai Netball Association, 54 years of service
Eulalie Hayes, Lower Clarence Netball Association, 52 years of service
Neita Matthews OAM, Eastwood Ryde Netball Association, 49 years of service
Anne Doring OAM, Eastwood Ryde Netball Association, 49 years of service
Madeline Allen, Westlakes Netball Association, 47 years of service
Robyn Bates, Eastwood Ryde Netball Association, 46 years of service
Margaret Rowland, Eastwood Ryde Netball Association, 46 years of service
Jeanette Wright, Ku-ring-gai Netball Association, 46 years of service
June Haynes, Northern Suburbs Netball Association, 45 years of service
Clara Hicks, Randwick Netball Association, 45 years of service
Carmel Higgins, Blue Mountains Netball Association, 44 years of service
Lesley Milner, Hills District Netball Association, 44 years of service
Megan Kocsis, Eastwood Ryde Netball Association, 43 years of service
Barbara Pope, Ku-ring-gai Netball Association, 43 years of service
Valda Evans, Inner Western Suburbs Netball Association, 42 years of service
Lesley Evans, Inner Western Suburbs Netball Association, 42 years of service
Berwyn Collings, Ku-ring-gai Netball Association, 42 years of service
Dianne Polychrome, St George District Netball Association, 42 years of service
Lynette Burgess OAM, Hills District Netball Association, 41 years of service
Sandra Minett, Bankstown City Netball Association, 41 years of service
Shirley Fitzgerald, Lakeside Netball Association, 40 years of service

In addition to acknowledging the work of volunteers, the Netball NSW President’s Dinner – which was first introduced in the late 90s and is held every five years – acknowledges NSW State Teams and the State’s Australian representative players who have retired from the sport over the last five years.

At this year’s event, the elite netball careers of both Kimberley Smith and Vanessa Ware were celebrated. Unfortunately Kim Smith was unable to attend this occasion, but Vanessa and her father were guests at the event.

When presenting the gift to Vanessa Ware, Wendy Archer highlighted the achievements of this one-Club player.

“I guess she (Ness) is so special to me because she has come through the ranks (Netball NSW pathway), and I get a real kick out of watching a young player come in, and then watch them develop and grow and mature into whatever they are going to be.

“Vanessa is a special girl. You have a look at her; she is a quiet achiever, a real team player and just did everything that was asked of her. And the way she has represented herself and the Waratah; I’m just grateful we have had her as part of our family,” concluded Archer.

Click here to view a gallery of photos from the President’s Dinner at the Netball NSW Facebook page.