Sitting Volleyball Club celebrate decade with nostalgia-filled tournament

Fareham’s Cams Hill School hosted a nostalgic South Hants Volleyball Club 10-year celebration event.

Portsmouth Sitting Volleyball Club members at the Cams Hill tournament
Portsmouth Sitting Volleyball Club members at the Cams Hill tournament

Teams from Guernsey and Essex helped celebrate a decade since a group of amputees representing ‘Moving Forward’ - a user group of the Disablement Service Centre at St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth - attended the Amputee Games (now LimbPower Games) at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.

There, they took part in a suite of adapted sports, including archery, badminton, fencing, powerlifting and sitting volleyball.

It was the latter that generated real enthusiasm amongst the group, and so seeds were sown for the creation of Portsmouth Sitting Volleyball Club which was established in October 2009.

A month later Dave Willoughby, a highly respected indoor coach, was appointed the team’s coach and just two months later they were playing competitively in the Grand Prix series - the premier competition for sitting volleyball.

Dave sadly passed away in 2010 and a number of stand-in coaches took on the coaching role until Richard Osborne, previously a player at the club, agreed to become the permanent coach.

The club has achieved some notable successes.

Firstly, it has survived for 10 years (changing its name to South Hants VC in 2016) - no mean feat given sitting volleyball is a minority sport within a minority sport.

Several players have represented the national GB teams, the club has played competitively in Holland and Denmark, and they have finished in the Grand Prix series top four.

A number of players who formed the club in 2009 remain, including Steve Bailey, Mike Stoneman and Charlotte Hughes.

Teams representing Guernsey, Essex Pirates, Sitting Bucks, GB Women, South Hants NVL

and South Hants SVC took part in competition at Cams Hill over two days.

There was home success as South Hants NVL took Shield gold, while South Hants won the Cup event.

Rich Osborne said: ‘It was fantastic to see so many eager and willing players travelling considerable distances in some cases.

‘There was a great mix of experience and novice enthusiasts, and overall camaraderie and team spirit was great to watch.

‘The fact this minority sport has thrived for 10 years is so encouraging and we fully intend to still be here in another 10 years time.’