Cricket trailblazer honoured at ceremony in Tea Gardens

VALE Ann Woods.

TRIBUTES from around Australia and overseas revealed the rich and varied life of Tea Gardens resident Ann Woods after her recent passing.

More than sixty people who gathered at Tea Gardens Hotel for a celebration of Ann’s life heard about achievements of which she never boasted.

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Through eulogies from those who attended and tributes sent by friends and former colleagues overseas, a fuller portrait was painted of Ann, who was known locally as owner of a gym and an active member of a number of local organisations, including the Myall Koala and Environment Group (MKEG), the Bitou Busters dune care volunteers, the Myall U3A Garden and Nature Club, the U3A Photographic Club and the Scrabble Group.

The eulogies also revealed a respected archaeologist, researcher and university lecturer as well as a highly-regarded cricket coach, mentor and promoter of the game in England, in the early years of a booming interest among women and girls.

Proceedings were opened by friend Adrienne Ingram, who spoke of Ann’s cancer and eventual death and private cremation.

Tea Gardens Librarian Chris Shelly read a tribute from Ann’s British friend Caroline Cartwright of their time shared from when they both studied Archaeology at Sydney University until Ann’s death.

She said Ann’s research work was still held in a special collection at the University of Leicester.

David Ingram read two messages detailing Ann’s contributions to cricket in the UK.

The first was from Paul Ladbrook, who served with Ann on the Association of Cricket Coaches and worked with her when they were development officers for the National Cricket Association.

Kate Scott, one of many people Ann coached at Leicestershire County Cricket Club (LCCC), said she left a legacy of women’s cricket that was still thriving.

“She really was a trailblazer, a pioneer and unique in a man’s world,” Kate wrote.

“A former female cricketer said coaching was never just a job for Ann.

“She loved the game so much and was committed to growing it for women and girls, giving us all opportunities.”

One of many tributes on the LCCC Facebook page described Ann as “a great woman and superb coach who had to cope with a fair amount of backstabbing and misogyny but toughed it out really well”.

Linda Leggott from the Gardening Club and Katherine Howard, Project Manager of the Little Terns and Oystercatcher Project, both spoke about Ann’s knowledge, enthusiasm, generosity and her advocacy for nature.

Helen Lowry, another travelling friend of Ann since their University days, spoke about their many adventures both in Australia and overseas, before Grant Woods, Ann’s brother, wound up the tributes with some humour of Ann and him growing up.

MKEG President Richard Streamer was the Master of Ceremonies and Uwe Seil produced a YouTube video of Ann’s celebration.

VALE Ann Woods: 26 August 1949 – 5 February 2024.

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