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Leigh Gibbs humbled by Life Membership

An overwhelmed Leigh Gibbs joined a select group of high achievers when honoured with Life Membership of Netball New Zealand at the 90th Council Meeting held in Queenstown recently.

An influential figure across all aspects of Netball in New Zealand for several decades, Gibbs becomes just the 32nd recipient to be awarded Life Membership.

“The thought of it never crossed my horizon, so it was an extremely wonderful surprise,” she said. “It’s a really great honour because I hold the current `Lifies’ in such high esteem. It’s a very special honour that I take very seriously.”

There isn’t much that Gibbs, a former Silver Ferns captain and coach, hasn’t achieved in Netball, her expertise and involvement also stretching from player and coach into the domains of umpiring and administration. She has impacted at all levels of the sport and always to the highest of standards.

The greatest drawcard for Gibbs has always been about Netball’s people.

“I got a lot of reward and enjoyment out of the teams I was involved in and the coaches who coached me,” she said. “As a sport to play, Netball suited me and I just really enjoyed all aspects of it…..the team element and women supporting each other.

“Netball was welcoming and enjoyable and it became a no-brainer to stay with the sport. Having success as a player also made you want to stay involved. I coached and umpired from a young age which at the time was expected, and I enjoyed those elements as well. So, it meant I was fully immersed and once you’re in like that and you’re having a good experience, you stay on.”

Gibbs has always admired the courageous and inventive women involved in Netball.

“Over time, they have made some huge calls and I think personally, we lead the world in Netball. To see and be amongst those women has been very inspirational and I hope in my Life Membership I can continue to carry that mantle,’’ she said.

“There have been some wonderful changes and Netball in New Zealand has held its own in terms of being a well-respected and highly regarded sport for all the right reasons.’’