Hat’s the way to do it!

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THE most successful team in the history of women’s basketball celebrated last season’s extraordinary trophy haul in style at an event organised by their sponsors.

The City of Sheffield Hatters joined their main sponsors, Westfield Health, for a celebration event at Westfield House to commemorate their league cup, championship and play-off trophy wins in the 2010/11 season.

Betty Codona OBE, Chair and former head coach of the Hatters, said: “We have had an outstanding season and it’s been wonderful to share the experience with everyone from Westfield.

“We are extremely grateful to the support Westfield Health has shown us. While the financial side of a sponsorship is of course important, we have been just as blown away by the interest the company has shown in us all season long and hopefully next season we can go on and be just as successful.”

Paul Shires, Westfield Health Executive Director – Sales & Marketing, said: “To achieve such success against the backdrop of the Hatter’s 50th anniversary says a lot about the make-up of this team. Everyone involved with the club is a true champion and Sheffield should be very proud of the achievements of this team.”

The Hatters, meanwhile, will celebrate their 50th anniversary again on Saturday with a celebration dinner at Sheffield’s Town Hall.

The eighth Annual Sports Dinner that the Hatters have organised, the dinner will also celebrate last season’s treble - the eighth time this remarkable feat has been achieved in the club’s 50 years in existence.

Betty, the most successful coach in National League Basketball who became the only coach to reach 500 games in 2007, said: “The club started with a group of women and girls in 1961 which did not know much about basketball, and had no one to play as they formed the first women’s team in England.

“They initially played in a local men’s league but then joined the first women’s national league when it was formed in the late sixties.

“From one senior team at that time they now have teams at all levels from U10 to ‘Masters’ and provide opportunities for all levels of ability.”

Betty was Head Coach until 2008 when she stood down, leaving the Women’s Div 1 side in the capable hands of her daughter Vanessa.

The club gained charity status in 2007 and is run by a very dedicated and hardworking group of volunteers who form the Board of Trustees which is chaired by Betty.

The Hatters are recognised as one of the most successful clubs in Sheffield not only for its success on the court but also for its’ governance, ethos and contribution to the community of Sheffield.

In a letter to all former Hatters and friends of the club, inviting them to the dinner, Betty writes: “I can hardly believe it myself and find it quite scary that I have gone through fifty years of basketball with the Hatters.

“We had a reunion in July which was really successful and for me brought back many happy memories.

“I was really happy that five of the people with whom I played many years ago were there and we had a great night.”