The Netball International Federation has honored netball maven Lucille Seymour with a Service Award for her contributions to the sport.
Ms. Seymour, who is president of the Cayman Islands Netball Association, was invited to collect her award in person at the INF Congress in Gaborone, Botswana, on July 7 and invited her to attend the Netball World Youth Games 2017 there, which run from July 8-16.
“The idea of visiting another African country, especially to receive my award was tempting, but due to the fact I had committed to have [the national netball team from] Canada … and Cayman could be ranked in this game, [it] went out of my mind very quickly. So I didn’t go to Botswana to receive my award,” she said.
Cayman hosted the Canadian team in a three-game international series over the weekend.
The Cayman Islands Netball Association nominated Ms. Seymour for the award.
Ms. Seymour said she hoped she would be able receive the award in Cayman, or in Trinidad at the Americas Federation of Netball Associations Congress in September.
Ms. Seymour welcomed the award and dedicated it to the women and girls who helped her in her efforts in sports and education.
According to Ms. Seymour, netball helps women and girls build their multitasking, decision making, critical thinking and leadership skills, which can be transferable to day-to-day life. The sport also serves to improve physical prowess and health, she said.
“That is why I stayed in netball, and I implore all who believe the value of sport to come and assist us as volunteers or as benevolent participants,” she added.
Ms. Seymour said her mother served as a great role model by teaching her most if not all that she knows about self-preservation, and in forming her desire to help people to be better.
“This has been my mantra, this has been my life,” she said.
In a citation as part of the nomination process, the Cayman Islands Netball Association stated that Ms. Seymour has been involved in netball locally, regionally and internationally for 60 years, as a young player at high school, college and university and as a coach and administrator in Cayman.
While studying in Jamaica, Ms. Seymour was coached by iconic netball administrator Leila Robinson, and developed a love of the sport, becoming determined that netball would become a household word in her native Cayman Islands.
“She and others founded the Cayman Islands Netball Association and then went on in 1977 to make netball become the first nonprofit sports organization in the Cayman Islands,” the citation noted.
She was a leader in the first regional netball tournament for Cayman in 1978, and became the president of Caribbean Netball in the same year.
“She was instrumental in getting the Cayman Islands government in working with the government of Trinidad to second coaches to coach the national teams over the years, and to assist with the Cayman Islands in hosting the 1988 Caribbean competition.
“Lucille has been an administrator of netball since 1968 and has made many firsts for the Cayman Islands. She became its president in 1983. She was instrumental in leading the national team to Australia in 1991 and then England in 1995, New Zealand in 1999, Jamaica in 2003 and Canada in 2013.
“Additionally, she has led the under 16 netball [team] to the Jean-Pierre Championships from its inception. and the under 21 team to Scotland. She was the leader and delegate of Cayman netball to many Caribbean Championships,” the citation continued.
Ms. Seymour introduced the playing of netball in all government schools in the Cayman Islands and in 1982, it became a compulsory sport in the schools. The result was the Cayman Islands inter-primary league.
Realizing that Cayman’s small population size meant that the local talent pool of netball playing was stunted, Ms. Seymour, a former politician, used her managerial and political relationships to work with overseas netball countries to have them come to Cayman to work closely with the players, engendering skills, aspirations and longevity of the sport.
“Through Lucille, netball was the first sport to introduce child protection policies in the Cayman Islands. As a result, she worked assiduously with the Ministry of Sport to bring all sporting bodies on board,” the citation noted.
“The people in the Cayman Islands hail Lucille as the pivotal person for netball prominence and longevity in the Cayman Islands. She is appreciated for the role she has had in raising the bar for girls and women in netball. A great majority of professional and skilled women, (who were former nationals) praise her for her steadfastness in keeping the sport alive,” it continued.
Queen Elizabeth II honored Ms. Seymour with a British Empire Medal in 1993 for her contribution to the sport, community and education.