League honour for tragic Clarke

Peterlee Leisure Centre contract manager Malcolm Grinstead pictured with Carole Lister.
Peterlee Leisure Centre contract manager Malcolm Grinstead pictured with Carole Lister.

A NETBALL league has been renamed in memory of the founder’s son who died from a brain haemorrhage 16 years ago.

The East Durham Netball League is now known as The Clarke Lister Brain Haemorrhage Foundation League, which is a charitable league.

Carole Lister founded the league 24 years ago and the name change is in memory of her son Clarke, who passed away aged 10 in 1996, having suffered a brain haemorrhage.

A year later, Carole set up the Clarke Lister Brain Haemorrhage Foundation to fund research into haemorrhages and strokes and to also support sufferers.

Carole, who lives in Peterlee and is also mother to Michelle Cooney, said: “We had our annual general meeting and everyone was in full support of changing the name.

“It was overwhelming. It means everything to me and I’m pleased and honoured that members let this happen.”

Carole said she had run the league since Clarke was a baby and the only time she had time off was when Clarke died.

But despite Carole’s heartache, she has helped the league go from strength to strength and there are now 16 teams.

Carole, who is gran to Mollie Cooney, seven and four-year-old Ruby Cooney, added: “We started out in Lowhills Centre and then East Durham College and now play at Peterlee Leisure Centre.

“We achieved what we always wanted – we acquired two courts and have got 16 teams playing on them.”

As well as East Durham teams, the league also features Hartlepool sides.

Carole added: “We have been able to increase our numbers because we have acquired more time in the leisure centre and the centre is supporting us.”

The partnership with the centre was boosted when the sales manager at the centre, Carl Higgins ran this year’s Great North Run in the foundation’s honour.