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

Covid-19 has had an impact on us all.
It has also forced other situations that will still be impacting on us long after we win our battle with it.
Due to the imposed lack of Netball activities lots of our volunteer work force have had less involvement than they would normally have had. This interaction would have kept them going, supporting the game we all love. It also allowed time for other things in their lives to come to the fore and bring about the need for them to consider not to continue with their netball involvement. This is sadly the case with Lin Oldham.

On 1st November 2020 her resignation email came into our inboxes which brought about several replies thanking her for all she had done, but I personally struggled on how best to respond adequately. Then outside of this, Lin messaged me to ask how we all were fairing. I replied saying we were all faring well but I was still struggling with my reply to her resignation email. This is her reply.

“Then say bugger all…cos there is no need hun. The do’ers, we all know what we do and we don’t need praise or thanks. There are people who have been doing this for years…although don’t know how you do it 😁”

Very much what I was expecting knowing her so well.  But I can’t let it rest there, hence the need to tell this story.

I have known Lin for over 20 years when she was a Warrant Officer in the Royal Navy playing for them then in the ECL. In fact, my county of West Dorset was due to play them at their venue in Portsmouth Naval base and the umpire they had booked was late turning up. So, believe it or not I was the next best qualified umpire and umpired the first two quarters until the designated umpire arrived. If I remember correctly Lin played WD and during play I blew one of her colleagues for an offence only for her to query it. Lin’s response was ‘he’s right, I will explain it at quarter time’. Seems just like yesterday.

There were other exploits, like when I arranged her successful B award assessment and her progression to becoming a B award assessor. It was during this progression Lin offered to become involved in the administrative side of netball. Lord bless that day! Like others who I have had the pleasure of working with who have had an armed force background, Lin brought a regimented approach to any task she was asked to become involved with. Give Lin the task, ask for her input, set the ground rules and she was off.

Lin also was instrumental with administrating the highly successful Talented Youth Umpire Programme.

As a region, we were struggling to communicate with members, especially on the officiating front. So, we tasked Lin (Queen of the spread sheet) to devise a regional officiating data base.We are still using that today. In fact, in its earlier years EN would consult with Lin to ensure their information was up to date. Lin also adapted the data base when GDP reared its ugly head. Again, give Lin the rules (orders) and she will complete the task.

When Lin and her husband Tony both finished their Royal Navy careers, they moved to Spain to undertake their long-term plan to live in the sun. You would have thought this was a good time for Lin to step down but no, not Lin. She became what I jokingly named our Spanish Office and continued to oversee things from there chasing MSFT tests and more. Every umpiring request you name, it was Lin who was the first port of call (good Naval analogy there!)

I still feel as though I am not giving her all the recognition she deserves, so I will finish with this little anecdote. Back in my secondary school days on rainy days when our then what was called ‘Organised Games’ sessions could not go ahead outdoors the gym was set up as an obstacle course and a couple of us deemed to be the fittest/athletic (yes I was back then) were appointed as captains and everyone else lined up against the back wall. The captains would then do what no doubt today is deemed poor practice and to take turns to picks of the others to join their team.

Well LIN OLDHAM would and will always be my first choice.

Thank you Danny, for the lovely story.

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)