Diana Bar is
retiring after an astounding 39 years of voluntary service to netball. Diana, 71 from Llandudno, has been a netball
enthusiast from a school age. Diana has
been loyal to the sport ever since and has devoted her adult years to Craig y
Don Netball Club, managing her time around her day job in
Diana takes us on
a wonderful trip down memory lane, which is filled with happy times.
When did you first
I played netball at school as it was compulsory, but I
much preferred it to any other sport anyway.
Unfortunately there were no clubs in North West Wales at the time; in
fact there was no netball after school at all.
I did, however, play for Unilever in an inter branch competition, but
then my love of netball died as there was nowhere to pursue it.
When did you
re-discover netball after that?
Well, 14 years later, Meryl Roberts, a teacher at Craig y
Don School approached me saying she wanted a team of parents to play against
her school team, I took part of course.
The same year, Mr Dewi Parry-Jones, Head of Youth Centres in the area,
conducted a survey amongst the Youth Centres as there were few activities for
girls. The overwhelming response was
netball! As a result, Dewi called a
meeting to see if a netball league could be formed. Thus, the Aberconwy & District Netball
League was formed, and six teams entered.
Of course, we know it as the North West Wales Netball League.
What became of the
Craig y Don Parents Team?
The Team became a Club! Wendy White came up to show the
new league the paths to follow.
How did the next
few years pan out for you?
I then qualified
as an umpire around 1978. Our coach
could not continue to give us our time and so the next natural step for me was
to qualify as a coach under Wendy’s guidance.
How daunting was that?! All was
quiet and peaceful in my life at that time and then Jen Sealey moved to the
area and set up Area netball. I then
continued to gain my Level B and C umpiring qualification. I was invited to become and trainee examiner
and Wendy introduced me to “the table” at International and Super League.
Were you still
working full time at this point?
Yes, I was. Apart
from working full time, I was Chair of the Netball League and we now had 21
teams. Back at the ranch at the Club, we
introduced a development programme for umpires and coaches. We were also able to introduce a mentoring
programme for trainee umpires giving them the confidence they needed to umpire
It sounds like
you’ve had a very successful netball life, but why are you retiring? Will you
You know when it is time to go as my body reacts in a bad
way when I even pass a pair of trainers!
I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family
and friends. I’m a keen gardener and I also play in a Scrabble Club so will
still be busy. Of course I will miss
many things but I think mainly the people. I have met some of the nicest people
that one could wish to meet over the years.
Many past players still keep in touch from around the country and abroad
which is lovely.
What is it about
netball that has kept you interested for so many years?
There’s no half! Every match is different. It is a thinking game as well as a physical
game. There’s camaraderie that I don’t think one can experience outside of
sport. I’ve loved seeing youngsters and
adults improve and enjoy. Sport teaches
so many things that are invaluable in everyday life.
What will be your
fondest netball memory from the last 39 years?
There have been so many over the course of the years that
I think I could write a book! Perhaps
the best was seeing two of our girls make the Welsh team and a number making
Who has been your
greatest support throughout your netball career?
Without the support of my family I could not have done as
much as I have over the years, they have been brilliant.
What about those
from the netball world?
Yes I’d like to thank
Jen Sealey, Wendy White, Suzy Lochead, Sue Atkinson and Merle Hamilton.
Without the help of these people there would not be any netball in NW Wales
today. And of course my Club mates –
some of whom have put up with me for a very long time.