Netball volunteers honoured at awards

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Three Nelson netball volunteers received “thoroughly deserved” recognition for years and years of service when they were presented with Service Awards at the Netball New Zealand annual general meeting in Auckland last week.

Jane Andrew, Maree Smith and Marilyn Milne were presented with their awards after being nominated by Nelson Netball Centre.

The trio have been involved in the sport, first as players then in a range of roles including coaching, administration and umpiring, for a combined total of well over 150 years, and Nelson Netball Centre board chairperson Julie Baxendine says the centre is incredibly proud of their achievements.

Jane joined the Nelson College Old Girls Club after moving to Nelson from the North Island in 1988.

She soon became involved in coaching school, club and representative teams before becoming a hard-working administrator – she started the long-running Geraldine Hodgson Tournament and founded the Prices Netball Club during her lengthy involvement in the region’s netball.

“Her passion, knowledge and love of the sport is immense,” Julie says. “Her generosity knows no bounds and no job is too big or small for her to take on.”

Although Maree Smith has been a talented player and dedicated administrator, she has also made a significant contribution to the sport in umpiring.

She has been convener of Nelson Umpires for nine years, umpired at national level after gaining her New Zealand umpiring badge in 2002 and is involved in assessing and coaching umpires.

“Maree’s efforts for local umpires has encouraged and inspired many players and umpires to continue to higher levels. She has had a massive influence on our umpiring development.”

Julie says Marilyn is “one of our pivotal volunteers” and has given “hundreds and hundreds of hours of time and energy dedicated to filling just about every possible role in netball for over 50 years”.

Julie says Marilyn has been especially passionate about college netball and fostering young umpires at the Future Ferns level.

She also spends every Thursday night during the premier club season acting as a technical official, supporting and training other volunteers – she has also officiated at ANZ championship games.

Marilyn’s award was the second one she received in the last month after earlier being made a Life Member of the Nelson Netball Centre.