Netball tournament held to remember Norwich mum, Victoria Hawkins

(L-R): Matthew Clarke, Andrew Bickers, Danny Colk, Dave Bradford, Izzy Hawkins, Mark Hawkins , Austi

(L-R): Matthew Clarke, Andrew Bickers, Danny Colk, Dave Bradford, Izzy Hawkins, Mark Hawkins , Austin Seales, Rob Brotherston, Lisa Price. Photo: Chris Thompson - Credit: Archant

A bereaved family came together to celebrate the life of a beloved Norwich mum - through playing the sport she loved.

Mark Hawkins with wife Victoria, son Max and daughter Izzy. Photo: Nelson's Journey

Mark Hawkins with wife Victoria, son Max and daughter Izzy. Photo: Nelson's Journey - Credit: Nelson's Journey

Victoria Hawkins passed away unexpectedly in 2014, aged 41, and left husband Mark, then 36, and children Max and Izzy struggling to come to terms with her death.

Mrs Hawkins was a keen netball player, and a member of McCarthy Stars and Panthers team. She was described as a 'fantastic' player, 'who was well known in the netball community'.

On July 1, her family and friends came together to remember her. They held a 'festival of netball', in her honour, with over 100 people taking part in the sport she loved.

The event also raised funds for Nelson's Journey, a local charity that supports bereaved children and young people in Norfolk. Max and Izzy, who were aged 16 and eight when their mum died, both received support from the charity Mr Hawkins, who is now 39, has since become a volunteer for the charity, saying that he felt it was: 'important to give back'.

Players in the memorial netball tournament. Photo: Chris Thompson

Players in the memorial netball tournament. Photo: Chris Thompson - Credit: Archant


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Lisa Price, 36, one of the organisers, and a close friend of the family, said: 'Nelson's Journey have been a huge support to Mark, Izzy, and Max since Victoria passed away.

'I wanted in some small way to contribute to such a worthy cause by donating everything we raised to them.'

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The tournament raised £1,208.92 for Nelson's Journey, which could fund four places for children to attend a residential weekend at Hilltop Outdoor centre.

The weekend allows children to remember someone special that has died, and aims to increase self-confidence and give the children coping mechanisms for feelings that may follow a bereavement.

Players in the memorial netball tournament. Photo: Chris Thompson

Players in the memorial netball tournament. Photo: Chris Thompson - Credit: Archant

During 2016, Nelson's Journey received 786 referrals, which was up 20pc on the previous year.

The charity aim to improve the emotional wellbeing of bereaved children by providing education about the causes of death, and enabling families to talk openly about their bereavement.

According to the Childhood Bereavement Network, 470 children and young people living in Norfolk will experience the death of their mother or father.*

The tournament will run next year on June 30 and is set to be a fun day out with a raffle, tombola, and family entertainment.

Players in the memorial netball tournament. Photo: Chris Thompson

Players in the memorial netball tournament. Photo: Chris Thompson - Credit: Archant

The fun tournament was won by team 'Oasis', while the competitive tournament winner was team 'Jets'.

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