#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

Lanivet Panda’s netball players supporting local community

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

Lanivet Pandas from Cornwall have remained proactive during lockdown within the group and the local community.

Coach, Alec Church, quickly recognised the need to keep his players engaged and connected. “I started live streaming weekly HIIT sessions,” said Alec, a staff nurse in Bodmin Hospital. “It’s boosted morale and helping with the mental and physical wellbeing of our group. I’m well known for enjoying a bit of banter and the virtual interaction is keeping spirits high.”  

Alec’s weekly fitness sessions have attracted a following way beyond the netball community. “I’m shocked at the number of followers and replays.” he said. “We all miss our netball and these sessions help compensate in a small way. We’re not just players or members of a group but we’re friends. This bond encompasses all our Pandas, whether competitive, fun or walking netballers.”

The Pandas are also playing their part in an initiative to supply scrub bags, headbands and masks to local hospital staff and key workers. A Zoom video conferencing meeting with their new sponsor Pete Robinson of Fire Safety in Order, Roche, resulted in a community effort co-ordinated by The Pandas. “As a member of Bodmin Rotary Club, Pete is involved in helping co-ordinate and supply scrub bags to local hospitals,” explained Lanivet Netball Chairman, Kathryn Pearn. 
“He invited our girls to help and it’s surreal that our virtual meeting has ignited a domino effect. Our Pandas, and, in particular our “sewing” Strollers, turned into a production line with word spreading through our village and local community with offers of support. News of the initiative even reached Dunelm Mill at Truro who have kindly offered to donate bags, headbands and masks!”

The project took a personal turn when requests started coming in from local nurses and care workers. “Hearing from nurses and carers in our community asking for help, including some who play netball with us, turned it into a very personal project,” said Kathryn. It was a poignant moment when Panda fun player Jess Machin, a Healthcare Assistant/Activities Co-ordinator at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust collected her parcel of headbands and scrub bags.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the making of these items,” said a tearful Jess. “It’s so lovely how the community are coming together to help all us key workers and I know this caring approach has always shown up in our Panda family.”
Panda netball manager Sam Church, also a nurse added: “It’s heart-warming to see our Panda netball group and the community team up with Bodmin Rotary and support this worthwhile project. We’re grateful to Pete for giving the Pandas the opportunity to be part of it and for his sponsorship alongside The Lanivet Inn; Tregullon Holidays and Herografix.”

Lanivet netball chairman, Kathryn Pearn delivering a parcel of scrub bags to Panda sponsor, Pete Robinson of Fire Safety in Order Ltd., Roche for distribution to local hospital staff by the Rotary Club.


The Pandas also found time to take up the Toilet Roll challenge saluting NHS and Key Workers in a fun and vibrant video to the apt music “We are Family!”

And with future plans including a Panda team debut in the league this season, Kathryn and team captain Tiffany Sweet have been busy behind the scenes organising bespoke team dresses.
Kathryn concluded: “For sure The Pandas will be putting on the biggest party ever once out of lockdown. We’re renowned for our social scene but you haven’t seen anything yet!”

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

Walking Netballers battle for quiz supremacy

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

On Tuesday the 12th May, walking netball teams from across Wiltshire gathered virtually for a digital battle for quiz supremacy. Three teams entered – Chippenham Lasses, Sockballers from Marlborough and Pewsey and The Super Dupers from Corsham.

Becca Higgs from Wiltshire Council and Corsham Walking Netball participants at their launch session

Hosts, Becca Higgs from Wiltshire Council and Kerry Brooks from England Netball helped get everyone set-up to both hear the questions and also be able to confer with their teams on their answers. After a bit of technical wrangling we were good to go and it was off with the quiz!

The quiz took place over four rounds – general knowledge, netball, slogans and movie quotes with 42 points up for grabs, and at the end, the teams were only just separated, with 1 point in it, with Sockballers taking the victory, just ahead of Chippenham Lasses.

Chippenham Lasses at the WI Walking Netball Tournament last year.

Whilst the quiz was just for fun, we did ask for donations for NHS Charities if people were able, and we were able to raise an amazing £105 from the generous participants, so thanks for everyone that took part and donated for a great cause.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

#wedNEWSday – To Rock Up and beyond…

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

Kate Jones, a player from Chippenham has a story to tell…

‘I was never a team player; I preferred the individual pursuits of running and cycling. I always felt as though I never fitted in, a round peg in a square hole. Solo endurance sports were my personal escapism. A way to block the negative thoughts associated with being ‘someone like me’.

Being transgender isn’t an easy path to tread but for me it was the right one. Post transition I set myself a number of goals, one was to break the mould and participate in a team sport coupled with the idea of making some new friends.

So after a chance discussion I discovered Rock Up Netball in Chippenham. They run a yearly quad session back to netball course. This seemed ideal but the thought of attending did fill me with a certain amount of trepidation.

For the first session I roped in a friend for moral support. Wow! It was such great fun!!! Having never played netball before I was totally clueless but I was eager to learn. Post course we formed a team and Victorious Secrets were born and they even made me captain!

The women at Rock Up have been very warm and accepting, and it is run by the legend that is Miriam Sawyer. She is a great coach and a wonderful human being.

Earlier this year I inquired about league netball and was hastily informed I would not be eligible to play because of my ‘gender status’.

I’m empathetic to the concerns natal born women have when it comes to trans participation in sport but conversely being born in a male shell does not always give you an advantage. There are women I play with who are faster, stronger, fitter and far more skilful than me. This contentious subject will continue to make headlines but it is something we need to discuss with scientific facts and a level head.

Earlier this year I decided to approach England Netball for clarification; I am lead to believe I am the first trans woman to do this. After several months and many emails later I received a confirmation of compliance letter. Marc Scott at EN has been very helpful and has even asked for my input in updating current policy on trans inclusion.

So what next for me?

I freely admit I have fallen in love with netball, it is such good fun! I particularly enjoy the camaraderie as well as the positive effects on ones mental and physically wellbeing. I’ve made the GD position my own. I thoroughly love the buzz of a timely interception and shot blocking. Victorious Secrets are currently top of our Rock Up league with one match to play.

Am I good enough to get a game for a team in a local league? Probably not at the moment but I will be and the doors to my participation are thankfully well and truly open.

I would like to thank my coach Miriam Sawyer, Marc Scott at England Netball, my Victorious Secrets team mates (you know who you are!), Amy Plumb for being my Rock Up wing woman. Finally I would like to thank the friendly and accepting women of Rock Up Netball Chippenham.’

Thank you for sharing your story Kate, looking forward to seeing you get back on the netball court.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

Taunton Netball Club fundraise for Love Musgrove

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

Inspired by Taunton Town FC and their fundraising efforts for Love Musgrove – Taunton Netball Club knew they had to get involved and do their bit! They asked members to Join us by ‘donating what you aren’t spending’ to the clubs just giving page and raise money for Love Musgrove. This included big or small donation as individuals are able to make and here were some ideas.

🏀 Match fees
☕ and 🍰 at a coffee shop
A Friday night 🍺 
An 🍦 at the beach
🍿 A trip to the cinema 
🚗 fuel for a week
A visit to the 💇‍♀️ 💇‍♂️ 

Susie, from the club ‘we’ve asked for selfie’s telling us what people have donated (the amount doesn’t matter, we just wanted to know what!)We encouraged people to:

💙 Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives 💙

Our initial target was £200 and it is great to say that our fundraising page is now officially closed and we are really pleased to announce that our club raised a grand total of £1,358.18 (this includes gift aid). This contributes to £100,000 that has been raised for Love Musgrove so far – money that will be put to excellent use on the frontline and will be hugely appreciated.

In these unprecedented times, which are so challenging for so many of us in lots of different ways, it’s fantastic that we’ve still managed to come together to make sure something good comes out of it! Thank you to everyone who donated or shared’

Well done all, it has been great to see so many people getting involved.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)