In an initiative driven by Vitality, the Roses will each have the name of an inspirational person to them printed on their kit for the Vitality Netball Legends Series.
Vitality want to celebrate the everyday men and women who’ve helped and inspired the players on their journey to the top. From parents who gave up evenings and weekends driving all over the country to their first coach that sparked a love of the game.
Each of the Vitality Roses has nominated someone that has had a profound impact on their growth as an athlete and this gesture serves as an acknowledgement of the support given by those important individuals. Without them, none of the England squad would have been able to reach the pinnacle of their sport.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Natalie Haythornthwaite expressed her gratitude to her mother, Paula: “I will be forever in debt to my mum for all she did in helping me achieve my dream of playing netball for England.
“She was a super mum in so many ways: my taxi driver, my chef, my cheerleader, my mentor, my shooting rebounder – even on the days when it snowed so hard you could barely see the ring – the list goes on and not only for me but for my two sisters as well. From ten-hour round trips in the car with a 60-minute game in the middle to the late nights and early morning sessions, she really did it all; thank you Mum.”
Laura Malcolm wanted to use this opportunity given by Vitality to pay tribute to her dad, Mark: “He absolutely shaped me as an athlete from day one,” she said.
“When I started to realise that I had the ability to move from school netball to an elite level, I asked him to help me get there. Every week he took me to the park to train me up physically, mentally and to help me become comfortable with how to train like an athlete from a very young age.
“Both him and my mum were always happy to join me in the garden so that I could do extra sessions, putting up with me launching the ball at them as hard as possible! He took me across the country to play and would never ever miss a game. His feedback to me post-game was always honest, insightful and encouraging and we would have long chats about all aspects of sport so that I had a deeper understanding of the crazy world it can be. He is and will always be the best coach I’ve ever had.”
Deciding her nomination proved difficult for returning Vitality Rose Layla Guscoth as she praised her dad for his encouragement throughout her career and her mum for driving her to netball training.
However, she ultimately settled on Caroline Key: “(She was) my first netball coach and PE teacher who saw potential and told me she thought I could play for England,” Layla explained.
These are the people who make an everyday difference, and we would like to thank all those volunteers within the Netball Family, you never know who you are inspiring!
Other Vitality Roses’ inspirational people:
Beth Cobden – Patricia Cobden (mum)
Helen Housby – Gillian Housby (mum)
Ellie Cardwell – Michael Cardwell (dad)
Sophie Drakeford-Lewis – Suzanne Drakeford-Lewis (mum)
George Fisher – Adam Fisher (dad)
Serena Guthrie – Linda Andrews (coach)
Vicki Oyesola – Patricia Oyesola (mum)
Razia Quashie – Jan Harper (coach)
Fran Williams – Helen Williams (mum)
Imogen Allison – Teresa Allison (mum)
Jade Clarke – Mike Greenwood (coach)
Watch the Vitality Netball Legends Series live on Sky Sports Mix, Arena and YouTube.
For more information about title partner Vitality please click here.