Update on Tuesday, October 11: Young fund-raisers at Blackboys Primary School raised more than £60 for charity yesterday.
The total £62.40 collected at a cake sale will go to Kit Out the Caribbean, a charity launched by England netball player Natalie Miller.
Read more about how the children chose the charity and met Natalie in our story below which was first published on Saturday.
Blackboys Primary School children meet gold medallist
From the Uckfield News story published on Saturday, October 8: Children from Blackboys Primary School are rallying in support of a charity run by netball gold medallist Natalie Miller.
The school council supports a charity each term and this time it is the turn of Kit Out the Caribbean which collects and donates unwanted or unused netball equipment to children in the Caribbean.
Blackboys school council members have organised a cake sale to take place after school on Monday and all the proceeds will go the netball charity. The school collects money each Thursday and that too is going to be donated to the cause.
Yesterday the primary school children were thrilled when Natalie came to see them, talked in assembly about her charity, and told them how as a member of the England team which won the World Indoor Nets Championships this year she was presented with a gold medal.
Natalie, who was swamped with requests for her autograph during break-time, said she was grateful to the children for their fund-raising help because when she launched the charity she would look out for people going to the Caribbean and would pay for them to take netball kit with them in extra baggage.
It was getting difficult for her to continue funding the project on her own and the children’s help would mean more kit could be sent to the Caribbean.
Natalie launched the charity after taking a school team to Barbados to play competitively and was shocked by the facilities available to that country’s netball players and determined to do something about it.
She has previously told Uckfield News how some players warmed up for fixtures with old, flat, torn footballs and not one had the correct netball footwear.
“Some fixtures were played on dangerous courts. Some had holes in the ground, some courts didn’t even resemble the netball posts we have in the UK.”
Yet, Natalie said, this didn’t stop the girls playing incredible netball. The talent and potential they had, despite their footwear and available equipment was breath-taking.
She is finding that the youngsters really being helped by her charity are 15 and 16-year-olds, an age group where appearances are important and where players are often lost to the sport. Kit for the Caribbean is keeping them playing for longer.
Natalie says she is short, at five foot four and a half inches tall, for a netball player and that restricted her to playing wing attack though she would like to try other positions on the court.
She was the shortest player in the England team when they competed in New Zealand. The average height of the team was five foot ten inches tall – and the shooter was six foot six inches tall.
The next competition that Natalie could be selected to play for her country in is in another three years. “It’s a waiting game really,” she said. “I don’t know what I will be doing with my life then either.”
In the meantime Natalie is looking forward to starting a new job on Tuesday. She is joining Handcross Park, a private primary school. She will be a classroom teaching assistant and also run all the sports. She will be starting netball there and also cricket.
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