Armed Forces Day: England Netball celebrates British Army partnership

Armed Forces Day is a chance to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community and to celebrate the proud partnership between England Netball and the British Army.

The British Army, which uses sport to enhance the physical, mental and environmental preparedness of its personnel, joined the Netball Family in January 2019, offering support across both a grassroots and elite level.

The Army shares strong synergies with England Netball; netball is the ultimate team sport with no single player able to go everywhere on court and the Army is the ultimate team career.

Lieutenant Colonel Donna Lodge said: “England Netball demonstrate all the qualities of teamwork, determination and physical fitness that are also qualities hugely important to us in the Army. Sport and teamwork play a vital role in developing our people so we are very proud to work with England Netball.”

During the course of the partnership so far, the Army have spent time in camp with the Vitality Roses.

Prior to the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019, Sergeant Nordia Masters, Lance Corporal Fern Davies and Captain Kate Whitby joined the full-time Roses programme players and discussed a range of topics from standout netball moments to advice for aspiring young netballers, as well as sharing their personal stories.

Then in the first camp of the new four-year cycle in August 2019, which welcomed quite a few new faces including Head Coach Jess Thirlby into the fold, the Army ran a session on leadership before setting the England squad a number of team building challenges.

“It was fantastic to have the British Army come into camp. The girls absolutely loved it and we learnt a lot about leadership. The session will really help us for the whole four years [the next international cycle] because leadership is a massive part of being within this programme” – Vitality Rose Eleanor Cardwell

Through outreach and engagement activity at England Netball events, the Army has been able to connect with a wider audience of young people, particularly females who it has found often know the least about the opportunities within the Army.

As title partners of the National Schools Finals, Under 14 and Under 16 National Club Finals, the Army has worked to further inform young people about what the Army stands for, its career opportunities, and the sport and education it provides.

As 2019 National Schools champions, teams from Worthing College, Parrenthorn High School and Wirral Grammar School for Girls won the chance to attend a leadership day led by the British Army.

The Army were also in attendance at SHOTS 2020, England Netball’s national university tournament exclusively for teams and players that are not involved in BUCS netball competition, with some off-court challenges.

Many fans will be familiar with the infamous batak board to test hand-eye coordination, as well as the ever-popular (but occasionally frustrating) buzz wire to test steady hands, also regularly on the concourses at international events.

To recognise the partnership between England Netball and the British Army on Armed Forces Day, a selection of specially created content has been produced.

There’s a chance to join in a pre-recorded workout with Vitality Roses Eleanor Cardwell, Yasmin Parsons and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, run by Staff Sergeant Kirsty Price.

You can also hear Jess Thirlby in discussion with Colonel Andrea Zanchi (Chair of Army Netball) and Sergeant Nordia Masters (Army Netball captain) on mentality, motivation and leadership.

To find out more about the British Army, visit the official website and follow @BritishArmy, @ArmyEngagement and @Army_Netball on Twitter.

Follow England Netball on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for the latest news and content.

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