Netball matriarch gets international honour

President of the Cayman Islands Netball Association Lucille Seymour has been recognised by the International Netball Federation (INF) for her contribution to the sport across six decades.

Seymour was one of three people internationally to be bestowed with the 2017 INF Service Award, along with a pair of recipients from New Zealand. She was due to collect the award at the INF Congress in Botswana earlier in July but did not attend due to commitments with hosting the recent Test series against Canada.

The former MLA has been involved with netball for 60 years as a player, coach and administrator and was a founding member of the Cayman Islands Netball Association.

“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,” a citation from the INF noted.

“Additionally, she has led the under 16 netball 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,” it added.

Seymour is credited with introducing netball to all government schools, with it becoming a compulsory sport in 1982, leading to the creation of the inter-primary league.

“Lucille saw her strength in moving netball forward as an administrator. During her tenure, she endeavoured for all to see netball as a sport that was not only to raise health and athletic awareness, but which gave women and girls an opportunity to think critically become good decision makers, as well as a stepping stone to be well-equipped for managerial positions. Apart from playing the sport, all national players were registered and worked in the young leaders’ program,” the INF citation stated.

Seymour dedicated the award to “all the women and girls who gave me the opportunity to help reach the unreachable stars in sports and education”.

She offered the following response: “This award and international recognition also have to be shared with those who believe in the model and continue to act on and display the character-building characteristics that train up great citizens. My life has always been ‘if I can help someone as I go along, then my living is not in vain’.

Seymour (right) signing the government’s Child Abuse Protection Policy at a press conference earlier this year.

“I have no regrets spending the greater part of my life helping women and girls for I believe that she who rocks the cradle should be given every opportunity to train up so that their children will shine and be significant in the nation building. Additionally, I had a great role model my mother who taught me most if not all that I know in self-preservation and in forming my insatiable desire to help people to be better than me. This has been my mantra this has been my life,” Seymour said.

She was also honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for her contribution to the sport, community and education.

One of her more recent achievements that brings her pride was introducing child protection policies in the Cayman Islands and worked “assiduously with the Ministry of Sports to bring all sporting bodies on board”.

It is expected that she will be formally presented with the award in the coming months.

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