Telegraph View: Small plea for big supporters

Star editor Nancy Fielder is campaigning for Pride in Sheffield.
Star editor Nancy Fielder is campaigning for Pride in Sheffield.

Sheffield is built on people who give so much and never give up.

It is true in all areas but, perhaps, never clearer than when we look at our army of volunteers.

Every season it struggles for funding - ironic in a world which says we need more girls playing more sports for more reasons than I care to list here

We usually think of carers, litter-pickers, schools and libraries when we are on this subject so sport goes unnoticed.

Everyone knows about the enormous wages at the top end of the scale but it is those at the other end who genuinely make a difference.

On Page 22 you’ll read about a most remarkable sporting woman. She has driven the aspirations, skills, dreams and fitness of many hundreds of Sheffield women and girls over the years. Yet you probably won’t have heard of Betty Codona. Even worse you might not know much about Hatters, Betty’s team and one of the country’s most successful sports clubs ever. This is a basketball family which makes England stars out of young girls and, most importantly, shows them their own value.

Yet every season it struggles for funding – ironic in a world which says we need more girls playing more sports for more reasons than I care to list here. Betty is now 80 and still going strong. You’ll see her at all of the children’s basketball tournaments and she always has a kind word for the youngsters, as well as advice whenever necessary.

Funding isn’t just a basketball problem. It threatens all sports, even the most popular when you dig down to the grassroots.

That is where the thousands of coaches, referees, parents/chauffeurs/cheer-leaders/first-aiders and all the rest come in.

You can put all the tax you want on sugar and fatty foods but I would suggest that just small investments to ensure the survival of teams like Betty’s Hatters might be more sensible. Health, weight, fitness, confidence, team spirit and happiness are all in our reach. Sport is a saviour for so many teenagers and supporting these enablers will pay back in immeasurable ways.