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Top volunteer . . . The Ensign advertising manager Katherine McLennan (left) presents Eastern Southland Netball junior development officer Dana Turnbull with her The Ensign Services to Sport award at the Gore District Community Awards on Friday.

Dana Turnbull’s approach to volunteering for Netball Eastern Southland is plain and simple.

She loves the sport, so why wouldn’t she help out?

After 10 years on the committee and six as junior development officer she has been recognised for efforts.

Mrs Turnbull was awarded services to sport at the Gore District Community Awards on Friday.

The honour took her by surprise and did not sink in at first.

“It was overwhelming,” she said.

“In this community people give so much for their sports and I felt really humbled by the messages I’ve received but I guess that’s the beauty of living in a small town . . .

“People pour their hearts and soul to get the best for our kids.

“I’m really privileged to accept on behalf of all the people and coaches who give up their time.”

She was honoured Netball Eastern Southland took the time to nominate her for the award.

“I felt quite humbled that they nominated me. I’m really appreciative it’s a huge honour.”

Through her role, Mrs Turnbull is in charge of between 280 to 300 children, aged 5 to 10, who take part in the Future Ferns programme developing fundamental netball skills.

That is not to mention 32 coaches, of whom she is in charge, who help run the sessions.

“I just love fostering the love of netball,” Mrs Turnbull said.

“To have fun, learn the skills and hopefully these kids take it into their teenage years.

“I’m a mum of three boys, who aren’t interested in netball at all, but I’m just pleased these other kids are getting out there in a sport and I’m happy netball can be that for them.”

She loved being able to see the confidence not only in the children, but also their parents, grow through the programme.

“I have such an awesome group of coaches who help me out and do so much.”

Netball was always her calling and she began playing premier netball for St Mary’s before playing for Albion in recent years.

She recently retired but nothing could drag her away from the sport she loved.

“Being involved is my way of giving back to the community.”

Her schedule for next year looked no different and she would be back to doing what she loved, nurturing the love of netball in the Eastern Southland community.