Vitality Roses Serena Guthrie and Jo Harten have been awarded MBEs (Member of the Order of the British Empire) after being named in the New Year Honours list for 2020.
The international teammates, and best friends, have both been recognised for services to netball.
Dynamic and known for her athleticism and speed, centre / wing defence Guthrie is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s finest mid-court players.
— Serena Guthrie (@serenabob) December 27, 2019
With sparkling footwork, remarkable reach and sharp shooting, Harten is one of the most damaging players both domestically and internationally.
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Proud to say that my bestie and I @serenabob have been awarded MBE’s in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. An exciting personal accolade, but the hard work of my team mates and those that play a role in building English Netball from grassroots to elite, can hopefully share in this award too. My involvement in netball continues to be a huge privilege, I feel so very lucky. 🌹
The duo have followed similar career paths, both beginning their domestic journeys in the UK’s premier netball competition, the Vitality Netball Superleague.
Guthrie donned the blue and gold of Team Bath Netball, helping her side to several league titles, while Harten sported the purple of Loughborough Lightning and progressed to become one of the club’s youngest ever captains during her four-year stay.
They both then moved to New Zealand – Guthrie to Northern Mystics for the 2015/16 season and Harten to Canterbury Tactix (2012-13) followed by Waikato Magic (2014-16) – before signing for Australian Suncorp Super Netball side GIANTS Netball in 2017.
While Harten continues to ply her trade for GIANTS Netball, Guthrie returned to the Vitality Netball Superleague and Team Bath Netball ahead of the 2019 season.
Their international debuts came just months apart with Harten winning her first cap against Barbados in November 2007 before Guthrie made her England bow against Malawi in April 2008.
Guthrie has represented her country at three Netball World Cups (2011, 2015 and 2019) and two Commonwealth Games (2014 and 2018), with Harten also being part of those sides and being included in the England squad for the 2007 Netball World Cup.
Both Guthrie and Harten played integral roles as the Vitality Roses claimed a historic gold medal in a one-goal thriller against the Australian Diamonds at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The ground-breaking victory saw the Vitality Roses win Team of the Year and Greatest Sporting Moment at the 65th BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards in 2018.
They also then stood side-by-side in the 12-strong team, captained by Guthrie, that won bronze at the Vitality Netball World Cup in July earlier this year.
The home tournament helped England Netball create a lasting legacy for the sport in the UK and inspired thousands to watch, play and participate in netball.
After England’s bronze medal at the Vitality Netball World Cup, we calculated, using YouGov survey data, that a staggering 160,000 adult women who followed the tournament were inspired to start playing netball or more netball.
In addition, we calculated that 5.1 million people that followed the event agreed that the Vitality Roses are an inspiration to all girls. Plus, 26.6 million Brits said they would recommend netball to their daughters (real or imagined), this is an increase of 2.5 million people compared with last year.
The Vitality Roses also then went onto scoop Team of the Year at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards for the second year running.
Guthrie is currently taking a year out of netball but remains involved as she is serving as an ambassador for Team Bath, while Harten announced in October that she’d be taking a six-month break from the full-time Roses programme after a busy and exciting four-year cycle.