A WOMAN who has dedicated more than five decades to the Singleton Netball Association (SNA) was made a life member of the organisation at Rose Point Park on Saturday.
And, a very humble – but proud – Gail Solman accepted the honour.
“I don’t know what to say, except thank you,” she explained.
But, association president Kerri Koosmen was not short of a word.
“Gail has well and truly deserved the right to stand here among her peers,” she said.
“We, SNA, are grateful for her service and delighted to award her life membership to the club.
“She started playing netball, as a seven-year-old, in Newcastle a long, long time ago.
“However, when Gail moved to Singleton, she was unable to take to the courts due to age constraints.
“That changed when she turned 12 – and I’m sure Gail has many stories to tell after more than 50 years as a player, coach, umpire and mentor.
“While she’s had time away, her love of netball always brings her back.
“Gail stepped back the first time to raise her family.
“But, she returned when her daughter Tracey began playing.
“After a number of years, she ‘retired’ on the second occasion.”
However, they couldn’t keep her away, Koosmen said.
Many people have contributed a great amount over their time, as members of the association, but very few can say that their input has spanned more than 50 years.Kerri Koosmen
“Gail was back in action when her granddaughter took up the sport – and she is still with us today,” she told the Argus.
“She coached and umpired during her playing days, mentored at representative and club level, and umpired during Tracey’s playing days.
“She also came back on board as a club and representative coach, while Aleisha played.
“In 2018, Gail will take Singleton’s 13 and 17 years’ rep teams to their respective state carnivals.
“She coaches a club side, too, and for many years looked after the Singleton Heights Public School outfits.
“Five seasons ago, she took on the most envied position in the association – umpires convenor.
“Her role covers weekly club games and mentor umpiring, along with representative carnival and championship umpire allocations.
“She also organises coaching and mentoring for umpires in preparation for their national badging.
“Gail is always the first person to put her hand up when things need ‘doing’ and willing to help out in anything asked of her.
“Many people have contributed a great amount over their time, as members of the association, but very few can say that their input has spanned more than 50 years.”