Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles. Make sure you check out our website each week to keep up to date and if you have a great story let us know using the details below!

The Impact of Walking Netball

Walking Netball is really making an impact! Not only is it offering women across the region a chance to pick up a ball and take to court again but it is also helping to improve their health and social wellbeing.

None more so than Jude Hollister from Wiltshire who recently took to the court for her first Walking Netball sessions.

Jude has always had a love of netball – she has played for Pinehurst netball club, played for and coached the Wiltshire Senior squad and delivered netball to countless numbers of pupils during her career at a local school. She represented the South of England during matches against international teams and even hosted players from Australia and Trinidad and Tobago at her house while they were on tour.

Unfortunately Jude now suffers with dementia and apart from walking the dog did not get out of the house very often. However, after months of persuasion from Swindon Netball Development Officer and friend, Mo Squires, Jude recently took her first steps back on court by attending a Walking Netball session at the Haydon Centre in Swindon.

Jude rolled back the years and her performance on the court was amazing. Her throwing and catching were brilliant but it was her movement and knowledge of the game that impressed the most. She had no difficulty getting free from an opponent and despite having two knee replacements she naturally made her way to the edge of the D – even calling for the ball and supporting team mates without any prompting.

In the same session there was also Brenda, who suffers from anxiety and depression, and Lucy who is extremely shy, suffers from sciatica and seldom smiles. Thanks to the patience of all the Walking Netball participants and the host the session was totally inclusive and a lot of fun!

Jude and Lucy have both returned for more Walking Netball sessions and the group have also managed to get Lucy smiling….. a lot!! In addition to Walking Netball, Jude has even ventured out to watch Pinehurst Netball Club in one of their Regional League 2 fixtures.

Now Jude can’t wait for each Wednesday afternoon when she heads back to the Haydon Centre and says that she thoroughly enjoys Walking Netball and she will be coming back every week.

Emily Harrison, Avon and Wiltshire’s Netball Development Officer from England Netball said “As we all get older, staying active and keeping fit becomes a vital part of making sure we can not only manage everyday life, but helps us to ensure that we are living a better quality of life too. Walking Netball is totally accessible to all ages and abilities and is perfect for anyone who wants a fun way to get out of the house and get some gentle exercise.”

“Ladies have been attending our sessions for all types of reasons, and one of the reasons they keep returning is the camaraderie and social networks that are built at our sessions. Every session I have visited has been full of chatter and laughter – both of which makes exercise much easier to commit to!”

“Stories like Jude’s really highlight the benefits and the impact that Walking Netball can have on an individuals’ wellbeing and their day to day life. I’m so pleased she has been able to find a way to get back on court and back in touch with her netball family!”

If you would like to be featured as our wedNEWSday story then please send your good news story, plus a snazzy photo, to Rachel Bussey (rachel.bussey@englandnetball.co.uk)