Norwich netball coach given national hero award by Princess Royal

Princess Anne and Karen Webb UK Coaching Awards 2021

The Princess Royal and Karen Webb, from Norwich, at the UK Coaching Awards 2021 - Credit: UK Coaching

A Norwich woman has won the UK Coaching Hero Award.

Karen Webb, 46, was one of 500 nominees, 75 on the short-list, and 25 final winners of the award. Over 65,000 people voted.

Mrs Webb, who is head coach for Norfolk United Netball Club, said: "It's just mind-blowing, it's phenomenal. Being nominated alone was so lovely.

"I do it for the love of the game and the people, it's been my entire life.

"So much of it is unseen work - analytics, planning, dealing with people and emotions."

Winners and attendants of the UK Coaching Awards 2021

Winners and attendants of the UK Coaching Awards 2021 - Credit: UK Coaching

The coach has been playing netball her whole life and has been coaching since she was 18, becoming the head coach in 2010. She was nominated by one of her athlete's parents after she opened up sessions to families during lockdowns.

"We had four sessions a week, with 70 to 80 people coming to each one, it gave me a sense of purpose and focus and camaraderie."

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Mrs Webb said of the awards ceremony itself: "I was humbled to be part of an event with so many outstanding people. I have never been in a room where I felt so at home, so uplifted, so supported, so understood."

"To be in a room of coaches from different sports, from different parts of the country and still all be facing the same challenges was like finding my team."

Princess Anne and Karen Webb UK Coaching Awards 2021

The Princess Royal awarding Karen Webb, from Norwich, the UK Coaching Hero Award 2021 - Credit: UK Coaching

At the ceremony were guest speakers such as Marcus Bloomfield, Mel Marshall, Craig Morris, Frank Dick, and hosted by Mike Bushell.

Mrs Webb was given the award by the Princess Royal, which she called "an incredibly surreal and once in a lifetime moment."

She also wanted to thank her family.

"We couldn't do what we do without being a team, it's a group effort. My husband and son were running around doing the tech, whilst me and my daughter were throwing netballs," she said.

One of the night's highlights for her was sharing a lift with Mr Dick, former director of coaching for UK Athletics, who held Mrs Webb's arm and said "you are never just a coach."

"I am so lucky to do what I do and this day will stay with me forever," she said.

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