WBBL: Sheffield Hatters founder Betty Codona recognised in club’s sixtieth anniversary year

A Sheffield woman who founded the UK's first women’s basketball club and has devoted 60 years of her life to running it has seen her efforts recognised nationally.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 2:29 pm

The ‘phenomenal’ Betty Codona from Sheffield Hatters Basketball Club has been shortlisted for The Sunday Times Grassroots Sportswoman of the Year Award, which recognises those ‘who have actively engaged with different groups of people within their community through sport’.

Ecclesfield-based Betty founded Sheffield Hatters 60 years ago aged 22.

At the time, she was employed as a PE and English teacher at Hatfield House Lane School, which later became Firth Park Compreh ensive, and wanted to expand the curriculum.

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Betty Codona founded Sheffield Hatters Basketball Club in 1961. Photo: Andrew Whitton.

The club has since gone on to become the most successful in the country, with at least one trophy added to its collection each year on average.

“I’m quite pleased about putting basketball on the map,” she said of her nomination.

"It helps the women’s game, the club and basketball itself.”

Sheffield Hatters trustee Sarah McQueen added: “Betty is a phenomenal person and is the driving force of the club.

Sheffield Hatters Basketball Club are unbeaten since returning to the WBBL. Photo: Andrew Whitton.

“Her ambition and can-do attitude are infectious, which is why the Hatters family has grown and she has inspired thousands over the years.”

Sheffield Hatters returned to the Women’s British Basketball League (WBBL) – the top tier of women’s basketball in the country – this season after being forced to withdraw from the league last term because of the financial impact of Covid-19.

The club has won all four of its opening matches in the WBBL Championship, as well as both WBBL Cup fixtures, and host the Hertfordshire-based Oakland Wolves at All Saints Sports Centre on Saturday (2:30pm tip-off).

Betty’s ongoing efforts have been crucial in raising enough money to allow Sheffield Hatters to field a team this year, Sarah said.

She added: “The WBBL team are role models that go into the community and that the younger players look up to.”

Betty will find out if she has won at an online ceremony on November 25.

To celebrate Betty's success along with the clubs 60th anniversary, Sheffield Hatters are hosting a business networking event on the 10th November at The Workstation from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

To register, sign up to this Eventbrite link: https://bit.ly/3BlFRKA.