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Netball brings out the will to win in me

Mums are incredible. They manage to fit 36 hours work into a 24-hour day, find the strength of 10 men to drag a double buggy and half a dozen bags of shopping up an escalator, and still come out smiling.

I don’t have children, which means I can largely pick and choose how involved I get with my godchildren, nieces and nephews.

They are various ages, from grown adults down to toddlers so I can prop up a bar with some, while others will find me sitting in a pink fairy castle reciting nursery rhymes.

Netball is turning me into a feisty aunt. Picture: Thinkstock
Netball is turning me into a feisty aunt. Picture: Thinkstock

I have yet to watch Frozen and learn all the words to Let It Go but I don’t think that day is too far off.

I do mop up snotty noses, have changed one or two nappies but given the choice, leave that to their mum or dad.

But I do jump in muddy puddles, throw myself around assault courses with them, bounce up and down on trampolines, roll down grassy hills, stuff my face with candy floss and buy them noisy musical instruments.

Some parents may have regretted getting me involved.

The other day I found myself stood at the side of a netball court – in wind, sun and rain – shouting encouragement at my 10-year-old god-daughter.

And I found myself turning into competitive auntie. She was very good (even though I do say so myself), and knowing the game, I could quickly spot when her opponent was too close, had dropped the ball, footworked or bumped into her, even if it was unintentionally.

I found myself wanting to point out the umpire’s errors, and then had to remind myself this wasn’t an England international, but a school friendly between two teams of girls who would probably rather be in the warm playing on the X-Box.

Thankfully I kept myself in check and applauded politely, even when the opposition scored (which they didn’t do very often, my god-daughter’s side won – get in!) but I scared myself a little with my competitive streak.

Having frozen the ends of my fingers and toes off, I headed home to a nice cup of tea and a hot bath while her mum went home to get dinner ready and brace herself for the large pile of wet netball kit that was heading her way. She’ll do it all again next week.

And it’s those everyday things that keep the family going; being there not just for the big stuff but the bitterly cold stuff too.

My mum’s been incredible all my life, but more so the past few weeks learning new skills and ploughing through numerous challenges.

Mother’s Day yesterday gave me the chance to tell her how proud I am of her, but I hope she already knew that.

When Dad died, one of the few things he asked was that there were no flowers at his funeral, but if people wanted to make donations, he would like them to go to the Wisdom Hospice in Rochester.

In the last months of his life, and particularly the last few weeks, the Wisdom Hospice team looked after him, made sure he felt as in control of his situation as he could be, helped him make choices and made him feel safe.

The Wisdom Hospice helps so many
The Wisdom Hospice helps so many

They made us all laugh when we needed to smile, and hugs when we needed them most.
In the end, he chose to be at home but the hospice team’s care and support continued in a way we will never be able to repay.

Our wonderful friends and family did as Dad asked, and sent numerous donations.
Now, more than £2,000 is on its way to the hospice in his memory.

Dad would be have been thrilled, and extremely humbled, and as a family, we want to thank those who helped raise that sum from the bottom of our hearts. We are truly thankful.

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