Yoxall lauded after Energise Me honour

Judy Yoxall, back centre, with members of Springers
Judy Yoxall, back centre, with members of Springers
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Judy Yoxall was named volunteer of the year at the Energise Me Awards earlier this month, writes Helen Dunning.

The Springers stalwart received the honour at a ceremony in Eastleigh on Thursday, March 8.

And it is no more than she deserves, according to her friends and colleagues on the netball courts.

When Springers emerged from Back to Netball sessions in 2012, Yoxall was instrumental in securing funding from Sport England and Portsmouth City Council.

Forming a committee, she assumed the roles of treasurer and head coach – leading the club forward with her positive and friendly outlook.

Ex-Springers chairwoman Megan Barnard said: ‘Judy is dedicated to netball and her skilled and patient coaching benefits the whole club. They are very lucky to have her.’

Springers now boast two teams in the Portsmouth League.

The Portsmouth Netball Association also benefit from her skills – as Yoxall sits on the committee as tournament secretary.

She is also one of the first people to offer help to other teams – as scorer, umpire or even just a word of advice.

Yoxall has worked with ex-England Netball community coach Debbie Laycock – coaching an evening Back to Netball session at Charter Academy in Portsmouth.

Her kind style was well-suited to the programme – as ladies returned to the sport, sometimes for the first time since school.

Julie Vugler, who attended a Back to Netball course and now plays for Springers, said: ‘Judy made me feel at ease with her warmth and friendly demeanour.

‘No question was considered stupid and after the seven-week course I had the basic skills to be fortunate enough to join Springers.’

With Springers expanding, another coach was needed – and Kimberley Churchill put herself forward.

She added: ‘When I joined Springers, Judy was so welcoming and when I wanted to develop as player and a coach she took every interest.

‘I have been fortunate to work with many coaches but her drive, commitment and passion is second to none.

‘She was a fantastic support to me during my Level 2 and although she jokes about retiring, there’s no way that will happen!’

Yoxall, still wanting to help boost participation, was first to help when Walking Netball arrived in Fareham.

From that first group, Yoxall trained as a Walking Netball host and now runs her own sessions in Havant.

It was no surprise to all who know her when Energise Me – formerly Sports Hampshire & the Isle of Wight – shortlisted Yoxall for the volunteer of the year award.

And then on March 8 at the finals evening in Eastleigh, Yoxall stepped forward to take the trophy as the overall winner.