Skip to main content

Bedfordshire County Netball is proud of it's many talented individuals.
Gary Burgess
Gary Burgess
International Umpire

Maggie Jackson MBE
Director of Coaching

Sylvia Eastley
Sylvia Eastley
Founder Member Bedfordshire Netball

The Hall of Fame is dedicated to people who have made a considerable contribution to Netball in our county including players, coaches and administrators who have gone on to represent Bedfordshire at regional and national level.

Click on any of the pictures for more info

Josie Huckle Josie Huckle
Hetfordshire Mavericks NSL Player



Gary's Story

The standard of umpiring in Bedfordshire has always been regarded highly in the netballing world and the pedigree associated with Bedfordshire Umpires speaks for itself. The coaching of umpires from beginner all the way to A Award continually adds new umpires to the ‘scene’ and it is this consistent nurturing and value added process that seems to churn out good umpires with promising careers year in year out.

Bedfordshire has produced no less than three international umpires over the years and it’s these three umpires that have been integral in promoting Bedfordshire umpires and developing officials in the county. Sylvia Eastley was our first international umpire and began umpiring the game in its all important development years. The highlights of Sylvia’s career were tours to the Caribbean and a very high profile at the Intercounties Tournaments. Cheryl Danson, now chair women of England Netball had the highlights of her careers in the 1980’s. A notable appointment was to the World Championships in 1987. The most successful umpire in Bedfordshire’s history has now gone on to be the National Umpiring Development Manager for England Netball. Sheelagh Redpath has been integral to the development and the ‘professionalisation’ of umpiring in recent years. Umpiring the first ‘Big’ World Championships Final in Sydney, between Australia and New Zealand in front of 10,000 spectators, Sheelagh set the gold standard of not only Bedfordshire umpires, but for English Umpire’s as a whole.

With the further development of the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) in 1995 a new internationally recognised award - the IFNA Umpires Award (IUA) was introduced. Bedfordshire is yet to have an umpire achieve this new standard but given a few more seasons’ it is thought that Gary Burgess may well be Bedfordshire’s first IUA and indeed the county’s first male International Umpire. Within Gary’s career netball has under gone a commercial facelift. He has umpired on television in the National Super League (NSL) and internationally at two European Championships in Northern Ireland and Malta. When asked what the highlight of his career so far was he commented “Winning England Netball’s Umpire of the Year 2008 has to be my highlight so far as it was voted for by the players and coaches within the NSL itself. Last year I actually got the opportunity to umpire the Australian National team in a closed doors practice match in preparation of the Australia, New Zealand and England Tri Series Tournament. This also features quite high on the list”. When asked what the netball future has in store for him he said “With there being so many international competitions over the next few years I hope to be on the plane to some, if not all of them. It has always been my goal to umpire at the Youth World Championships in the Cook Islands in 2009 and that is still realistic and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi may also be on the agenda. The way in which netball is developing may also mean that Netball is included in the Olympic programme. To umpire at the Olympics would be the highlight of anyone’s career but there is a long way to go where that’s concerned. I am very proud to umpire for my country but at the heart of it all I am a Bedfordshire umpire through and through”

To not mention the contribution of Bedfordshire’s A Award umpires would be an oversight. Gloria Keech, Ann Norman, Lesley Devereux, Rosemary Smyth, Chris West, Bernadette Palmer have all represented Bedfordshire at many national competitions. Gloria, Bernadette and Lesley have all turned their expertise in umpiring to producing new umpires through coaching and mentoring. It is these ladies that are producing the future of Bedfordshire umpires and we are sure that as time goes by Bedfordshire will continue to be a county renowned for its umpiring pedigree.