College coach recognised for her commitment to sport.

A Coach from Stoke on Trent College has been officially recognised for her commitment to her sport.

Carolyn Owen received the Anne Latham trophy at a County awards Ceremony earlier this month.

The award recognises someone who through adversity has shown Great Spirit to continue to be involved in Netball.

Carolyn, who joined the coaching team at Stoke on Trent College in September, formed the Harriers Netball Club in the city in 1979 and has been instrumental in the club’s development ever since.

In 1994 she expanded the club to include a youth sector and took on multiple roles to ensure the long-term survival of the club; head coach, umpire, captain, chair, manager to name a few, and this is something that she continues to this day.

On receiving the trophy, Carolyn said: “It is great to be recognised for the work I have put in to the sport – but I do it because I love it!  I am extremely proud of all our girls, it’s like an extended family, and to receive an accolade for this is the icing on the cake.”

Other than Club netball, and coaching at Stoke on Trent College, Carolyn has been involved in coaching at NULC and Staffordshire University as well as working within the county academy. She has sat on league committees, junior netball and Staffordshire county activities. Carolyn has never taken a break from netball, even when pregnant with her two children, continuing to play as long as she could and then cheering from the sidelines.   She has been a constant fixture in Stoke-on-Trent netball, with only a handful of individuals having as long/longer service.

Harriers Netball Club Chair Sam Oliver said: “Carolyn deserves this award for everything she has done, what she is about to do, and to show her that netball cares about her just as much as she cares about netball”.

The last couple of years have been challenging. Family illness has provided additional stresses, but Carolyn has never stopped with her netballing commitments – she has even taken on more! She was instrumental in supporting Harriers in their quest to gain entry into the WM Regional League, coaching the squad in their first season and giving up her weekends to be at all matches.  She also started a new High5 sector, runs Back to Netball sessions and is to be part of the Wasps coaching pathway, all in the space of 12 months. However, netball will take a back seat when, later this year, she donates one of her kidneys to her son – yet another selfless act which demonstrates her caring and committed character.

Institute of Sports Performance Manager at Stoke on Trent College, Trevor Humphreys, said: “Carolyn has made a real difference to the elite sports we offer as a College.  She was instrumental in supporting the new Wasps partnership we have, creating a regional satellite for netball in the area.  I am extremely proud to work alongside her, encouraging youngsters to never give up on their passion for sport.”

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