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

Restoring Lymington Road Netball Courts

Beryl D’Alessandro has devoted much of her life to running netball teams and encouraging girls and ladies of a range of ages to believe in themselves and be part of a team and the netball community. The benefits that these opportunities have bought are huge. The confidence, the feelings of being part of a team, the friendships, the fitness and feelings of well being are far reaching beyond the netball court.

Beryl was a keen netball player herself and formed a team that used to play at Lymington Rd, Torquay in the early 1980s and then qualified as an umpire. Beryl started suffering from arthritis and so concentrated her efforts on running teams and organising charity tournaments that even involved local police and firemen! Beryl has always been driven to not only facilitate sport and fitness but to give back to the community and individuals that need support. Beryl’s daughters Laura and Lia started playing for her and over the years she developed and ran up to 10 teams in various local leagues.

Unfortunately, Beryl was diagnosed with a disease called Sarcoidosis effecting the joints and muscles and had to endure many operations and pain over the years. Unsurprisingly to all that know Beryl, despite many huge setbacks with her health, she continued to put netball first and her passion for her teams has never changed. Even having suffered from 3 heart attacks, Beryl has refused to take a back seat as apart from her beloved family netball is what she lives for!

Seven years ago, Beryl started up a League at Paignton Academy’s Hub and with the help from local sponsors and an invaluable committee has grown this into a well established Torbay League with 3 divisions and 29 teams. She was also presented with the ‘Unsung Hero of the Year’ Title by Torbay Sports Awards. These good times have been disrupted, however, as the Covid Pandemic has bought huge challenges to the netball community. Beryl has gone to great lengths to try and keep the games going and even found a local company to remark the old courts at the YMCA and bought new posts so outside games could continue.

Despite these efforts the Lockdowns put an end to all play. Beryl has already started to plan a charity tournament to raise money for the YMCA that desperately needs support. The council has also decided to fund the development of the courts at Lymington Rd where Beryl’s long career in netball all started! So Beryl has decided she would like to help with the shortfall needed to complete the project and breath life into the netball courts of Torquay.

She is planning to walk 40 miles in 4 months to represent the 40 years of service to netball and aims to raise £4,000 and hopefully lose 4 stone in the process! Beryl suffers from Sarcoidosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis and asthma so this is a huge challenge for her. She knows it will have health benefits and also prove to herself there’s fight in the Old Girl yet! Beryl will be 75 years old on June 6th and is hoping to finish in time for birthday celebrations and a cream tea in her garden! Beryl has set up a Fundraising Page which you can access here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-restore-lymington-road-netball-courts?qid=333c179ca447a25c574bbcdc15431eda

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)