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

Tomorrow, one of the South West longest serving staff members will be leaving us after over a decade with England Netball. Karen Peaty, Dorset Netball Development Officer is moving onto ‘pastures new’, now seems a great time for Karen to reflect a little on what netball has meant to her over many, (many 🙂 ), years.

We caught up with Karen as she reflected on her time in Netball.

‘Like lots of us I’m sure, my first experience of netball was at school when I was about 11.  Once I moved to middle school I was always the one given the WD bib.  This is something I now take as a compliment – the most underrated, unappreciated and under-celebrated position right?   (I’m not convinced that was the reason at the time though :)).

Once my daughters were older I decided to help out as a volunteer at their local club and soon after took my L2 coaching and C award umpiring qualifications.

Apart from a few rule changes the game is pretty much the same as I remember when playing on the primary school court.  I certainly still enjoy it now, just as much as I did then.

I remember my first day at England Netball, as Dorset NDO, in 2009.  I turned up at the Partnership Development Managers office, and spent most of the week with a huge paper map of Dorset in front of me. Plotting where all the Netball was taking place and just trying to work out what it all looked like.  I’m pretty sure now that many would choose to do this with a laptop in front of them but at the time, paper was my preferred method of working.  I guess this is one of the things that has changed the most over the years. (This sounds like I am very old I have just realised).

The first few months were spent meeting up with key partners and volunteers.  It was great to be talking ‘netball’, my passion, literally all day, every day!

To narrow down to just a few memorable netball moments from over the years is tricky.  There have been so many. However, perhaps being able to take to the court with my daughters, other family members and friends has been up towards the top of that huge list!  As far as my NDO role goes, every event and programme, from the planning to the day, is an achievement and it’s always so lovely to receive positive comments afterwards.  So many proud moments. Even when things don’t go so well, (and there’s been a few), it’s always good to be learning for the next one.

I have been very privileged to work with so many amazing people over the last 11 years.  Netball is so very lucky to have such a large volunteering workforce.  All with the passion, dedication and commitment to netball in common.  For those who I’ve had the pleasure to work with, I couldn’t possibly begin to name you all individually but this comes with a huge THANK YOU to every one of you!

As I move on to new challenges, I know I will miss all the ‘teams’ I have worked in and with.  A special shout out to Team South West and South and also Netball Dorset as the county netball association – you have all been amazing and it’s been so lovely to be a part of it all!

I hope to very much remain part of the netball family as a club volunteer and still would love to be assessing coaching courses and helping run Bee Netball and Walking Netball workshops.  I’m certainly not going too far and look forward to seeing many of you on a court very soon!’

Thank you Karen for reflecting on your time with England Netball. You will be sorely missed but we are so happy that you are staying as part of the netball family.

For any Dorset related queries, please email Dorset@englandnetball.co.uk

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)