10 October 2023

DE MARTINO (Monbulk) (13:22): The launch of This Girl Can Week is a fantastic opportunity to recognise a remarkable local woman of Monbulk, Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Aylett of Ferntree Gully, whose lifelong commitment to girls and women in sport has left an enduring mark on our community. Lizzie’s journey in the world of netball began at the age of 15 as a player and spanned more than 70 years. She took up the whistle as an umpire in 1964. Witnessing the shortage of experienced umpires during her daughter Jenny’s matches and unpleasant attitudes from some of them towards the girls, Lizzie took it upon herself to make a positive difference. Remarkably she only stopped umpiring last year, after 58 years, at the tender age of 85. But Lizzie has not even given up on netball. She continues to mentor junior netball players and umpires, devoting her Saturday mornings to their development. Her enduring presence in the white uniform on the court is a testament to her passion and fervent belief in girls sport. She is a life member of Belcoma Netball Club, one of the oldest in Monbulk, and the Whitehorse Netball Association. Lizzie is a true inspiration to us all and is described by her granddaughter as the epitome of a human ray of sunshine. From my meetings with Lizzie, I would have to agree wholeheartedly. Thank you, Lizzie, for your outstanding commitment to girls sport in our community. This girl can? Well, that girl did.