Sue Lockwood awarded life membership of Tamworth Netball Association

Family ties: Sue Lockwood with father Ken, whom she joined as a life member of the Tamworth Netball Association. Her mother Dot was also previously awarded life membership. Photo: Gareth Gardner 2711202GGB03
Family ties: Sue Lockwood with father Ken, whom she joined as a life member of the Tamworth Netball Association. Her mother Dot was also previously awarded life membership. Photo: Gareth Gardner 2711202GGB03

Sue Lockwood was too young to remember when she was first exposed to the sport that would become a lifelong passion.

Netball has been a presence in her life pretty much since she was born.

"Mum (Dot Lockwood, the late doyen of the game in the NSW regional centre of Tamworth) used to take me in a pram down to the old courts down on Kable Avenue," she reflected.

A towering figure in the sport, the long-serving president and administrator's love of it rubbed off on Sue.

Following in her footsteps, and also of her father Ken, she was in recognition of her years of service to the association, recently inducted by the TNA as a life member.

Completing a unique trifecta, she said it was a huge honour, albeit a very unexpected one.

"I think it was one of the first times I was left speechless," Lockwood said.

Her association with the TNA stretches back to her primary school days at Westdale.

After moving from "a very small three teacher school" to what was at the time, one of the biggest schools in the state in Tamworth High School, and finding it hard to get into a team, she did have a bit of a hiatus through high school.

Teachers College followed; the netball genes not the only thing her mother passed on.

After receiving a teaching appointment back in Tamworth, Lockwood got involved in netball again.

Initially as a player, that then metamorphosed into coaching and umpiring, and later administration.

First joining the TNA executive in 1986, she has over the years held several positions and served on many committees; as she put it "filled in here, there and everywhere".

She is currently the vice-president, stepping into the role a couple of years ago, and runs the Thursday night mixed and junior mixed competitions.

She was also part of the group that facilitated the move out to the Sportsdome and with her mum started the Westview club. Now associated with Pirates Rugby Club, it was, to her belief, one of the first clubs that included primary, high school and adult teams.

As much as she has given to the sport, she said it has given her a lot.

"I can understand why mum enjoyed being at netball, because it's the people that make it.," Lockwood said.

It is what keeps her involved. I enjoy it because I like the people - I'm a people person," she said.

Her mum sadly passed away in 2017 but her dad still helps out. Before COVID, he would usually score for one of the teams of a Thursday night and "potters out on a Saturday".

She said the pandemic has been a big learning curve for the association.

"There's things that we learnt this year having to follow all the COVID procedures and protocols, that we figure we're going to keep on in future years because in some ways it will make running our competition's less stressful," she said.

Lockwood retired from teaching in 2017, although she does still go back one day a week to teach English as a Second Language.

This story Netball and family ties bind strong for newest life member first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.