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Group Leader Wins National Award

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Our very own Pat Arnott has been honoured for her amazing commitment to the beautiful game that is ... netball, of course!

Just before Christmas, she received the Muriel McNally Grassroots Award, at the 2020 Vitality National Goalden (as in G-O-A-L!!!) Globes Awards. This is awarded annually in recognition of an outstanding contribution to netball at a local level. Now THAT deserves a massive round of applause!

Here are some extracts from an article, reproduced with the kind permission of 'The Alsager Chronicle':

Patricia Arnott won the title in both the Cheshire/North West and Staffordshire/West Midlands regions and received a glass trophy and framed certificate, which were virtually presented to her by Tracey Neville, the former head coach of England Netball.

"I was really chuffed to win the award," said the 74-year-old former PE teacher at Alsager School who set up Alsager's first under-11s netball team 25 years ago and who is the present chair and chief coach of the town's netball club.

She has previously been chair of Staffordshire County netball and Stoke-on-Trent Netball League. She said Alsager's young players have "flourished" over the years with some ending up playing at England's national team level.

She moved to Alsager in 1980 when Mrs Arnott first worked as maternity cover at schools in Staffordshire. She started work as a PE teacher at Alsager School in 1986. Mrs Arnott still coaches but is allowing more time for younger people to take on the role.

"The sport has given me the opportunity to meet many people from all over the country, and in Alsager we've seen quite a few youngsters gaining various awards and achieving at coaching. It's really pleasing seeing the youngsters coming through."

She retired as a full-time teacher at Alsager School in 2006 but until March went in every week to help with netball coaching.

Of the walking netball group at Alsager U3A, she said: We've had between 16 and 20 players at the leisure centre whose ages range from 50 to 80. It was very popular before covid. One of those in the group had never played netball before so it's been brilliant ..."

(end of direct quotes)

How about that! But despite her recent accolades, Pat hasn't forgotten her other passion – table tennis.

She reminds us: I'm also the group leader of a table tennis group, at Rode Heath Village Hall. It meets on Wednesday mornings, but unfortunately it has been suspended for the foreseeable future, just like the netball. My table tennis group includes thirty players, of varying abilities. We enjoy playing doubles for two hours each week, and we're keen to restart. We're one of eight table tennis groups, split between the Village Hall and The 13 Club. That means Alsager U3A provides a fun-but-effective way of staying fit, to over 200 members.

Wow! She's a netball legend and a U3A group leader (twice over). A shining example, for every generation – Pat Arnott, well done you!

Alan Bell
(Groups Co-ordinator)

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