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Canterbury & District Netball League pay tribute to their founding member Margaret Ansted

The Canterbury & District Netball League are mourning the loss of their founding member.

Margaret Ansted, who set up the league with her husband Don in 1977, passed away at the weekend.

Margaret Ansted receiving the Joyce Crust award from Kent Netball in 2013 (33269177)
Margaret Ansted receiving the Joyce Crust award from Kent Netball in 2013 (33269177)

Her contribution to local sport, which spans over more than 40 years, was incredible, says a tribute issued by the netball league.

The league started following a tournament in celebration of the Queen’s silver jubilee.

Margaret and her husband formed the first committee beginning with 12 teams that October.

Over 40 years Margaret held many positions on the league committee, working tirelessly for the benefit of others.

Margaret Ansted with her Canterbury netball team (33269175)
Margaret Ansted with her Canterbury netball team (33269175)

At an event to celebrate 35 years of the league in 2014 Margaret, as league President touched upon the atmosphere with her closing remarks, saying: “This is what the league is all about, not just the playing, but fun and comradeship. The laughter will be ringing in my ears for years to come thanks to the CDNL.”

In addition to the Sunday league, Margaret and her husband Don set up the Monday night ‘Lucky’s’ league in 1992 named after Brian Luckhurst, the indoor centre manager at the St Lawrence Cricket Ground.

This friendly league provided new umpires with a chance to develop their skills, a welcoming environment for local ladies to play regular matches and create an opportunity for young players to make that important transition from school netball.

Former Kent and England cricketer Vince Wells with Margaret Ansted and the scoreboard in memory of Don Ansted at Harbledown Cricket Club, pictured in 2011. Picture: Chris Davey
Former Kent and England cricketer Vince Wells with Margaret Ansted and the scoreboard in memory of Don Ansted at Harbledown Cricket Club, pictured in 2011. Picture: Chris Davey

A tribute from the club said: “Margaret was not only instrumental in setting up the local league and playing for the University of Kent Staff team but was also responsible for developing netball at the university.”

She was awarded sportswoman of the year in 1987 for her commitment to the sport. She coached the student club until 1989 and continued to provide support for many years afterwards as she continued to work in the University Library.

The tribute continued: “Despite losing her husband in 2006 Margaret’s continued passion and dedication to local sport, the district and her Canterbury team was nothing short of inspirational.

“As a player and later team manager, Margaret enjoyed seeing the Canterbury team win the league more than 10 times and who could forget their success at finally winning the Don Ansted Cup, an award she was most proud to present in memory of her late husband.”

Team picture of Canterbury netball club in 2004, with president of the league Margaret Ansted.
Team picture of Canterbury netball club in 2004, with president of the league Margaret Ansted.

In recognition of her commitment to Netball Margaret received the Joyce Crust Award from Kent Netball in 2013 for her outstanding contribution to the development of netball in Kent

in a volunteering capacity. The following year she was recognised locally and named unsung hero at the Canterbury District Sports Awards in 2014.

The league tribute added: “Margaret had an incredible impact on many, many women of the district who have been able to play local league Netball as a result of her vision to set up a league that is still going strong over 40 years later.

“Over 100 teams have competed at some point over the years and many generations of families have graced the courts at some stage.

Margaret Ansted, widow of Don, on the bench dedicated in his memory
Margaret Ansted, widow of Don, on the bench dedicated in his memory

“Everyone at the league will miss Margaret immensely and will be forever grateful for her vision in setting up the league, her leadership on the committee, her words of wisdom and the time and encouragement she had for everyone that had the good fortune to meet her.”

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