Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles. However this week is slightly different, as part of our ‘Who’s Who’ campaign we are going to be highlighting the huge volume of people that are involved in netball in the South West. This week is the turn of Netball South West’s Regional Chair – Karen Jones!

Karen Jones

When and where did your netball start?

I started playing when I went to secondary school, Plymouth High School, and loved it straight away.

Why did you chose your specific discipline?

We had a great PE teacher who took us to the nationals at U14, U16 and U19 and as the team stayed mostly the same for all that time we just loved the travel, tournaments and social side. I also loved winning.

Who has influenced you most in your netball journey? 

Apart from at school, my umpiring has to have been influenced mostly by Sheelagh Redpath like most umpires of my generation and for my NSW board role it would be Heather Crouch, without who’s support and guidance I wouldn’t be the NSW chair.

Why do you love netball so much?

A question I ask myself all the time! More than anything I love the people, I have known some for over 30 years and they’re like a second family

How many hours a week are you involved in all things netball?

Umpiring wise, whether that’s actually umpiring, mentoring, tutoring or assessing it’s on average 6-7 hours a week. My regional chair’s role is probably more demanding, maybe 9-10 hours a week.

What’s your favourite thing about the sport and why?

Apart from the people I love the fact that it’s a game that offers something to all women and girls whether that’s an opportunity to play for your country or an activity that keeps you active, healthy and in touch.

What’s your netball USP (unique selling point)?

No idea. Probably my passion for the game

What’s your greatest achievement in the sport?

What’s brought me the most pleasure and caused me to lose the most sleep would be umpiring some great matches in front of large crowds. So Team Bath v Wales, England Seniors (even if it was a training session), Prem 1 and the trips to Dubai and Bahrain.

If you could change one thing about netball, what would it be and why?

It would have to be the recognition/inward investment to put it on an equal footing in the UK with male dominated sports

Tell us one non-netball fact about yourself

I still have the teddy bear I took to Singapore with me aged 2 – he’s called Timothy Augustus Shankles (what kid makes up a name like that for a bear?)

Sum up netball in seven words

Fun

Friendship

Competitive

Inclusive

Exciting

Developing

Draining

Make sure you check out our website each week to keep up to date and if you have a great story let us know by sending your good news story, plus a snazzy photo, to Rachel Bussey (rachel.bussey@englandnetball.co.uk)