Tributes continue to pour in for former national netball player Denise Joyce Auguste, whose lifeless body was discovered on Thursday 21st May 2020 at her home in Arundell Hill. She died at the age of 76.
On the court and based on information received Joyce dazzled opposing players and fans with her ball-handling skills and her ability to pass and run off the ball – she was a permanent fixture on the national team.
In 1969 she was named Sportswoman for the Year, the first in Saint Lucia’s sporting history. Two decades later (1989) she was inducted into the Netball Hall of Fame. She was awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire) medal presented by the Queen in 1988, and the Saint Lucia Order of Merit in 1989, in recognition of her services to netball and music.
Former President of the Saint Lucia National Netball Association, Fortuna Belrose who is also the Minister for Culture and the President of the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee spoke to the VOICE on Friday as she payed tribute to Denise Joyce Auguste, someone she has interacted with for many years.
Belrose said, “Joyce always encouraged us to focus on producing athletes for the long term, working on the young women, meaning, their posture, mannerism, behaviour and attitude… that was her focus”.
She wanted you to feel good about yourself and walk with elegance across Saint Lucia especially if you’re in the sport of netball, it is something to show off and feel proud of.”
She added, “Joyce was well organized, well-groomed and presented herself well, that is the model she left for most of the young women in the sport. Above all of that she was just an iconic individual, and impacted a lot of people across Saint Lucia, across all schools, even in the various communities.”
Most would have already heard about her prowess in Folk Music, finding people like Rameau Poleon in Belle Vue and bringing him to the fore and working with groups like Hewanorra Voices to ensure that Saint Lucia’s music survived.
“She was about excellence and what we could have done as a people to showcase and bring out the best in the world,” Belrose added. “Joyce represented Saint Lucia at an early age of 14, she also made the West Indies team and the Commonwealth team against England; she achieved a lot very early in life, it was just attributed to her desire to be excellent in all that she did, so I think that is something people will always remember about her.”
Rolling back the years Joyce began her netball career in January 1956 while studying at St Joseph’s Convent. During that period, she represented her house, St Ann’s at the Inter House Netball Tournament. Her performance earned her a chance to represent the St Joseph’s Convent at the annual Inter Club competition organized by the late Uralis Booty.
In 1957, merely one year after initiation into the sport of netball, Joyce was selected as the youngest player ever at that age to make the Saint Lucia national team.
In 1960, Joyce played alongside the following players on the national netball team: Justin Lubin, Acynta Popo Mackenzie (Auguste), Maguerita Alexander, Shiela Havel, Eleen Forde, Angela Brice, Lucy Gallion, Rumelia Edwin (captain), Augustine Martial and Laura Gidharry.