Uckfield-born netball player Natalie Miller has won a gold medal as part of an England team which beat Australia in the finals of the World Indoor Nets Championships.
It was the support of family, friends and well-wishers that enabled Natalie to take up her un-funded place in the England team.
And her mother Kate said they were grateful to the community of Uckfield for that support. It meant that Natalie could go to New Zealand to play in the world cup, where she and her team became world champions.
Kate added: “I’m so incredibly proud of my girl and her team.”
From an Uckfield News story on July 21, 2016: Uckfield-born Natalie Miller who runs a campaign to provide sports equipment for children in the Caribbean now needs help herself to represent England in indoor world championships.
Natalie, who attended St Philip’s School and Uckfield Community Technology College has been selected to play for the England Indoor ladies’ open team in New Zealand this summer but netball is not seen as a ‘professional sport’ and so she has to fund her place herself.
Friends are helping, and one event planned is a coffee morning and nearly-new sale at the Cinque Ports Club in Uckfield High Street on Saturday (July 23).
Admission is free of charge and the coffee morning will take place from 10.30am to 2.30pm and all are welcome to go along.
Natalie also has a GoFundMe page which can be seen here.
Kit Out the Caribbean
Natalie, a netball coach at Hurstpierpoint College, collects unwanted or unused netball equipment to send to the Caribbean because she was shocked, when taking a team to play in Barbados, by the facilities available to that country’s netball players.
“Some players warmed up for the fixtures with old, flat, torn footballs. Not one had the correct netball footwear.
“Some fixtures were played on dangerous courts. Some had holes in the ground.
“Some courts were just completely unplayable when it rained, being the rainy season, and games had to stop immediately.
“Yet it didn’t stop the girls and their ability to play incredible netball. The talent and potential they had despite their footwear and available equipment was breath-taking.”
Natalie said it was difficult to imagine not having a netball court in every primary school with at least some available equipment. But in Barbados they do not have that.
She added: “They make the most of what they do have and they are creating some fantastic netballers.”
Natalie’s Kit Out the Caribbean campaign sends equipment including netball trainers, netballs, dresses, shorts, socks, tracksuits, medical supplies (tape/icepacks) and any other relevant netball equipment.
Natalie is due to travel with the England squad to New Zealand next month to play against teams including Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Training is taking place in London weekly leading up to the world championships.
Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory