On Saturday, June 3, Abergavenny Youth and Ladies Netball Club held a 12-hour netball match to raise money for Holibobs Children’s Cancer Charity following the diagnosis of one of their young players.  

Over 50 players came along from each year group; most being from the U12s and U14s teams. They supported the organising team of Babs Watkins, Louise Aspley, Debs Gwilliam, Esther Anderson, Meg Spiers and Vicky Curran, all of whom were “exhausted” by the end. 

Organising Team.
Meet the organising team (Photo supplied)

The fundraiser was created in support of twelve-year-old Cassie, who was ten when she was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2020; marking the beginning of a long and frightening journey. 

During this period, Cassie joined Abergavenny U12s, taking up the position of goal shooter and would often join in with the rest of the squad; even playing a couple of matches. 

Cassie’s Coaches Babs Watkins and Lou Aspley were astounded by Cassie’s strength, courage and resilience that shone through even in the darkest times; living by her phrase: “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

However, in September 2022 just nine weeks away from the end of her journey, Cassie suffered a relapse and needed a bone marrow transplant.  

Fortunately after two months of searching, a donor was found and in January 2023, Cassie had her life saving bone marrow transplant. She has since returned to the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital in Cardiff. 

It has been an unimaginable journey for Cassie and her family, but her strength, determination and smile have inspired all who know her; thus, leading Abergavenny U12 coaches, Babs and Louise to plan the fundraiser.  

Babs said: “Lou and I have had the privilege of meeting Cassie, a young lady who just wants to play netball like any other little girl. When we heard that Cassie had suffered a relapse in her recovery, we wanted to do something to encourage and support her and her family. "

Although a very long and tiring day, the event was a complete success with the final score at the end of the mammoth match being- Team 1: 346 goals and Team 2: 326 goals.

The teams were delighted to welcome Abergavenny, Councillor Mayor Anne Wilde and Consort Councillor Gareth Wilde, who stayed to enjoy the match for over an hour.

Cllr Wilde praised the event, saying: “I was impressed with the dedication and skill of the netball players who came from a wide range of ages.  Their commitment and stamina were impressive and doing it for such a good personal cause.”

Babs, Lou and the team shared their gratitude to the Abergavenny Leisure Centre and particularly Michelle, in addition to Morrisons, O’Connells Bakery and Tesco who kindly donated to the cause. Babs commented: “The amount of food and liquid  donated was so wonderful and greatly appreciated.”

By the end of the weekend, they had raised over £1,800 on Just Giving and £700 in cash donations, which will go to Holibobs, Cassie’s chosen charity. Holibobs is dedicated to providing children with cancer or leukaemia and their families with precious time together as a family through the provision of short breaks and holidays. 

Proud by the accomplishment, Babs said: “Cassie we did turn some of lemons into lemonade for you. Keep fighting, lovely.”

Holibobs netball
The girls played for Cassie's chosen charity, Holibobs (Photo supplied)