Tributes flow after passing of Campbelltown netball legend

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When Campbelltown and District Netball Association posted this notice on their social media site about the passing of Shirley Connolly the response was huge.

There were hundreds of tributes to a woman who was the driving force of netball in Campbelltown for more than 30 years.

At last night’s council meeting, Campbelltown Mayor George Greiss also praised Shirley Connolly, who passed away on June 4 at the age of 87.

“I’d like to pay tribute to Shirley Connolly OAM, a stalwart of the netball community in Campbelltown, who sadly passed away recently,’’ Cr Greiss wrote in a special Mayoral Minute.

“Shirley was a driving force behind the growth of netball in this region for five decades as both a coach and administrator.

“During this period, she coached many East Campbelltown club teams and Campbelltown and District Netball Association (CDNA) representative teams.

“During her time on the CDNA committee she has held many roles, including president between 1990 and 2018, and helped to lead the association through many significant changes.

“She played a pivotal role in the expansion and enhancement of the netball courts and facilities at Coronation Park in Minto, ensuring competitions such as the NSW State Championships can be held in our city while local players are also able to access high quality facilities,’’ he wrote.

“Shirley also led the digitisation of the CDNA administration and financial systems and introduced coaching and selection systems for representative teams.

“As a founding member of the Campbelltown Sports Foundation, she contributed to the establishment of the South West Sydney Academy of Sport, which has directly supported the development of elite netballers from our region.

“We often talk about the value of volunteerism in our community and Shirley was a shining example of how a single volunteer can drive positive change within the community and provide opportunities for others to participate in sport.

“Her list of accolades in recognition of her service tells a story in itself. Shirley was recognised by both Campbelltown City Council and Netball NSW for her work over the years and in 2021 was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her outstanding contribution to netball in the Macarthur region.

“On behalf of Campbelltown City Council, I’d like to extend my sympathies to Shirley’s family; especially her 5 daughters and 9 grandchildren.’’

Councillors Karen Hunt and Darcy Lound also paid tributes to Shirley Connolly OAM.

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