Netball star still on target at 70

Wellingborough Netball League celebrate the lifetime of contribution to the game by Marion Neales and her 70th birthday.
Wellingborough Netball League celebrate the lifetime of contribution to the game by Marion Neales and her 70th birthday.

A 70-year-old netball player who has spent a lifetime contributing to Northamptonshire’s leagues – and still scores plenty of goals on the court – has been congratulated for her efforts.

Marion Neale’s contribution to the sport was celebrated by past and present players at a 70th birthday party held for her at Weavers Sports Centre in Wellingborough by fellow netball players.

Mrs Neale, from Wollaston, has been playing the sport from a young age and represented the county for four years.

She still plays in her favoured goal shooter position in both the Wellingborough and Rushden leagues, and she showed younger players how it’s done during a 60-second netball shoot-out at the party.

Mrs Neale said: “It was a fantastic party. It was so lovely for me to see all the old girls I’ve played with over the years.”

Trudie Avery, a Wellingborough league committee member, said: “Marion is a much loved and very familiar sight on the sidelines of netball leagues and matches throughout Northamptonshire.

“She has helped and encouraged many teams and individual players over the years, and is highly respected by many.”

Fellow committee member Suzanne Coleman, who plays with Mrs Neale on Wednesdays at the Pemberton Centre, Rushden, praised the contribution she has made.

She said: “If she doesn’t play she’s umpiring or scoring. She’s always encouraging people. She just wants to keep going. I know that if I give her the ball she will score.”

Mrs Neale is also a supporter of the Crazy Hats breast cancer appeal and the £211 raised from a raffle at the party went to the charity.