A lifetime of outstanding commitment to netball by a Horsham women has been recognised with a prestigious national award.
Margaret Bysh, who moved to Horsham in 1997, won the Mary Bulloch Administrator Award in a glamorous Goalden Globe Awards ceremony in Sheffield on Saturday night.
The 78-year-old has been involved in the sport all her life from playing and umpiring at regional level, to more recently chairing regions and taking on treasurer roles.
Originally from Kent, Bysh’s illustrious carrier in the sport has seen her become a well-recognised face in netball circles up and down the country.
The retired PE teacher lived in Humberside for many years, but recently spearheaded the regional finance committee, while also operating as regional treasurer for the London South East for the past ten years.
The finance committee was responsible for successfully applying for, and then utilising more than £31,000, for funding netball in the London area.
For these many years of hard-work and volunteering, she was put forward by the London and South East region for the award and saw off a number of other nominees at the finals night.
Bysh, who now coaches at Southwater Netball Club, admitted it was an honour to have been nominated, and to win the prestigious gong was even more touching.
She said: “It was the equivalent of an Oscars ceremony. I knew I was a strong candidate, but you never know for sure, so I was so pleased to hear my name read out.
“Everyone from all the other regions were so pleased for me and saying things like we had her first, which was so nice for me to hear.
“I knew the lady the award was set up by, she always seemed to follow my career, so it means a lot to me in that way as well.
“It is an administration award and was first set up by Mary, who has passed away now, as she wanted to award the people in the background of the sport.
“For 40 years I have moved around the county and chaired three different regions – the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside.
“I started out playing, then umpired at a high level, and have gone on to coaching a lovely bunch of ladies down at Southwater now.”
The result has given a lift to the grandmother after her husband suffered a heart attack last week.
Bysh admitted she wasn’t even going to go to the ceremony, but with her husband recovering well, one of her two sons drove her up to the awards night.
She added: “I wasn’t going to go, but my husband told me to and it has been a great lift for the family.
“We have gone from right down there to right up here.”
Some of the finest names in the national game were at the tenth annual awards ceremony, where there were ten different categories.