A tribute to our League Founder and President

Wednesday 8 April 2020

The league and our local netball community across the Canterbury District are sad to report that of one of the league’s founding members, Margaret Ansted has died.

The Canterbury District Netball League (CDNL) started in 1977, following a tournament in celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Margaret and her husband Don formed the first committee beginning with 12 teams that October. Over 40 years Margaret held many positions on the league committee working tirelessly for the benefit of others.

At an event to celebrate 35 years of the league in 2014 Margaret, as league President touched upon the atmosphere with her closing remarks “This is what the league is all about, not just the playing, but fun and comradeship. The laughter will be ringing in my ears for years to come thanks to the CDNL”.

In addition to the Sunday league Margaret and her husband Don set up the Monday night ‘Lucky’s’ league in 1992 named after Brian Luckhurst, the indoor centre manager at the St Lawrence Cricket Ground. This friendly league provided new umpires with a chance to develop their skills, a welcoming environment for local ladies to play regular matches and create an opportunity for young players to make that important transition from school netball.

Margaret was not only instrumental in setting up the local league and playing for the University of Kent Staff team but was also responsible for developing netball at the University where she was awarded Sportswoman of the Year in 1987 for her commitment to the sport. Margaret coached the student club until 1989 and continued to provide support for many years afterwards as she continued to work in the University Library.

Despite losing her husband in 2006 Margaret’s continued passion and dedication to local sport, the district and her Canterbury team was nothing short of inspirational. As a player and later team manager, Margaret enjoyed seeing the Canterbury team win the league more than 10 times and who could forget their success at finally winning the Don Ansted Cup, an award she was most proud to present in memory of her late husband.

In recognition of her commitment to Netball Margaret received the Joyce Crust Award from Kent Netball in 2013 for her outstanding contribution to the development of netball in Kent in a volunteering capacity. The following year she was recognised locally and named Unsung Hero at the Canterbury District Sports Awards in 2014.

Margaret had an incredible impact on many, many women of the district who have been able to play local league Netball as a result of her vision to set up a league that is still going strong over 40 years later. Over 100 teams have competed at some point over the years and many generations of families have graced the courts at some stage.

Everyone at the league will miss Margaret immensely and will be forever grateful for her vision in setting up the league, her leadership on the committee, her words of wisdom and the time and encouragement she had for everyone that had the good fortune to meet her.

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