Mon | Jan 25, 2021

Glowing tributes for former netball president Avril Crawford

Published:Thursday | January 14, 2021 | 12:07 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Avril Crawford, then president of the Jamaica Netball Association, receives a special D& G - Pepsi 40 Trophy from James Lim, senior executive vice-president, Desnoes and Geddes Limited, at the Wyndham Hotel during a major netball event in 1987.

The passing of former Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) President Avril Crawford has hit the sport’s local fraternity hard, and her colleagues have showered her with praise. Tributes have cited her quiet dignity, committed service to netball, and attention to detail.

A severe stomach ailment claimed the life of the 77-year-old Crawford on December 30.

Having served as president between 1979 and 1982, Barbara Buckley Jones has fond memories of Mrs Crawford.

“’Av’, as she was affectionately called, served with quiet dignity as player, umpire, coach, and honorary scorer. She asked for no reward, save that she was serving her country and keeping netball ‘vibrant and alive’. Av went quietly and peacefully through life, leaving us with memories of a life dedicated to service and one filled with goodwill to all,” Buckley Jones reflected.

Crawford led the association for a decade, from 1983 to 1993, with the highlight of her tenure being a third-place finish by Jamaica at the 1991 World Championships in Sydney, Australia. Jamaica ruled the roost in the region, too, with victories at the Senior Caribbean Championship in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991.

Prior to her time as head of the JNA, she served as president of the Business House Netball Association.

She also served the sport outside of Jamaica. She was the first-ever elected vice-president of the Americas Federation of Netball Association (AFNA), which was established in 1992, and in 1993, she was elected as vice president of the International Federation of Netball Associations in 1993.


Marva Bernard, who served as JNA president from 2005 to 2015, saw Crawford at work during the inaugural AFNA Regional High Schools Championship in 2018 and recalled, “I was impressed by her attention to detail and how calmly she went about ensuring that we did everything to make this event successful, and that it lived up to the reputation of being well done, as Jamaica had become known for hosting tournaments.”

Away from netball, Crawford was a member of the board of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons at the time of her death. She was also the former CEO/Project Manager of the e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited, and worked as a management consultant to the Public Sector Reform Unit at the Cabinet Office of the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Education.

She studied at The University of the West Indies, where she read for a Bachelor’s Degree in physics and mathematics, and at the University of Glasgow, where she gained a postgraduate diploma in computing science.

She was twice president of the Jamaica Computer Society.

Crawford is survived by her children Dana Mae Alexander and Michael Crawford, grandchildren and other relatives.

The JNA was renamed Netball Jamaica in 2013.