Cheltenham's Netball and Natter

Posted June 21, 2023 by Poppy O'Reilly

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

Five years ago, 32 ladies from multiple WI groups across Gloucestershire joined Walking Netball (WN) host Vicki Wood and Gloucestershire Netball Development Officer, Rachel Bussey, at a WN taster session. Little did we know at the time how hugely successful this partnership was going to be with sessions continuing to this day, albeit not with 32 ladies each week!

As with everything, the group stopped during lockdown but as lives slowly got back to normal, Vicki received a message from a group member who lived alone saying she really needed some social activity, preferably some WN. Vicki was quick to set up some outside, socially distanced netball activity in a park followed by a much-needed coffee and natter. It was at this point it was apparent that this group were more than just ladies on a court – friendships were cemented as collectively they navigated this very strange time. When allowed, the group returned indoors under a Partnership Agreement, newly named Cheltenham Walking Netball headed up by Vicki.

Cheltenham WN have 21 registered ladies, and two qualified additional hosts. Besides the normal motivators to join - have fun, get fit and make new friends – some have joined following cancer, another a family illness and bereavement, and a handful as rehabilitation en-route back to regular netball. 

One member comments:

“As a host, Vicki is inclusive and always ensures everyone has the opportunity to play to their strengths in a friendly environment with lots of fun and laughter. Her patience is never waning - even when every week she has to shout, “don’t follow the ball, ladies”!! We learn something new every session to make us better players - introducing tactics and game play skills to enable us to compete in tournaments and festivals.”

As a group, Cheltenham WN has taken part in several local and regional tournaments, and friendly matches. They have had trips to watch the Roses, attended the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, and the World Cup in Liverpool, as well as supporting their local Super League team, Severn Stars.

The ladies will celebrate their five-year anniversary with lunch after their weekly session on Monday and, no doubt, there will also be lots of cake! Long may Cheltenham WN continue to enjoy their netball and natters.

 If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to the South West Regional Officer (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk).

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