Long-time volunteer umpire hangs up the whistle

LONG SERVICE: Paul Blake has been umpiring in the South Burnett for 25 years.
LONG SERVICE: Paul Blake has been umpiring in the South Burnett for 25 years. Claudia Williams

NETBALL: For the last 25 years players in the South Burnett have been pulled up for stepping with the ball, awarded goals for their team and been taught how to umpire by Paul Blake.

Blake has now umpired his last game in the region as he moves across the country to be with family in Western Australia.

Blake was first introduced to netball through his daughter.

"My daughter played netball and after standing on the sideline thought I would get involved,” he said.

To earn his umpiring badge Blake travelled to the Sunshine Coast after work and then arrived home close to midnight.

Since earning his C Badge for umpiring in 1999 Paul has umpired state age, country carnivals, Queensland secondary school championships as well as being involved at a club, association and district level.

Quality umpires improves the quality of games and in the last two years he has helped get six newly badged umpires in the Kingaroy association.

He also inspired many in his role as umpire convener at Nanango and District Netball Association

"I had a very good coach and I wanted others to have the same opportunity,” he said.

Blake continued to umpire once his daughter stopped playing and encouraged his son to umpire.

"Umpiring is one of the things that makes the club great and all the other volunteers are really important for making a club run properly,” he said.

President of Kingaroy Netball Association, Hayley McAnally, said that Blake has made a big impact on netball throughout the South Burnett.

"He has put a lot of effort into developing himself as an umpire for the sake of our South Burnett organisations,” she said.

"He started to see that we needed more umpires and he took it upon himself

"He has given his time and effort for the sport out of the love of it.”

Blake is most proud of working with the council while he was president to build the Kingaroy clubhouse on Fisher Street.

Topics:  kingaroy netball association netball umpire

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