Darcy Coomber’s trophy takes its place in the Students’ Union

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Darcy Coomber was the former President of Monte Netball club and student at the university, studying Politics and International Relations. Unfortunately, during her final year at Southampton, she passed away peacefully on 27th January 2021.  

A year on from her passing, a trophy donated by Darcy’s dad, Chris Coomber, was unveiled in the Students’ Union Building.  Chris was honoured that both Professor Russell Bentley and Vice Chancellor Mark Smith were there on the day. 

This trophy, in memory of Darcy, is presented to the student who achieved the highest mark in their Politics and International Relations dissertation. The award is earned by showing the same dedication to their degree that Darcy showed. The trophy is on display in the concourse of the SUSU Building, on the left as soon as you enter the doors. 

A large part of her university life was being a committed member of Monte Netball team. She was elected club President 2020-2021 after being Kit Sec 2019-2020 and had a positive impact on the club in many ways.  

Pru Dixey Monte Netball President 2021-2022 said:  

“Darcy was exactly what Monte Netball needed in a President. She was always on top of things, but she knew how to join in the fun at socials. At training she was the first smiling face to greet you and make sure you were doing okay. Her smile lit up Monte Netball. Everyone always wanted to make her proud and that continues today.  

The team have really followed the motto ‘Do it for Darcy’ in their challenges and fundraising efforts. Raising over £5500 so far, alumni and current members have done amazingly and there is much more to come. I know she would be proud of Monte Netball, and we will be forever grateful for the impact she had on us.” 

Monte Netball wanted to carry Darcy’s name forward by raising money for a charity which helps asylum seekers and refugees; they chose the JCWI (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, jcwi.org.uk). Darcy centered her dissertation on this topic and wanted to bring awareness to the issue of how the media reported on migrants. Raising money for this charity has helped migrants in need and has supported activism in an area she was so interested in. 

Monte has done a variety of fundraisers over the past year including walking the distance equivalent of Southampton to Amsterdam, then from Amsterdam to Prague, and then back to Southampton which added up to a massive 3,000km. This route was chosen by the club as despite having both tour t-shirts ready, Darcy had never been on a Monte Netball tour. So, the club decided to walk the distance to get her there! The club smashed the 3,000km covering 3892km in a month and raised £5389 along the way.  

Furthermore, Monte set up a charity netball tournament over the summer which raised over £500, lots of different clubs from all types of sports took part. Last weekend to commemorate one year since Darcy passed, Monte put on another mixed netball tournament. Again, it was a great tournament and raised even more money for the charity JCWI.  

At the end a trophy was awarded to the member who showed the same level of dedication Darcy did to the club. Aarti Amin, the current team coach, was the first recipient of the award. Aarti said:   

“Darcy showed us all what true commitment and hard work was. You could always count on Darcy to be there at every training, match & social, and this really showed in how her netball progressed over the years. She was always so positive, and such a kind and genuine person on and off the netball court. I’m so proud to receive this award in honour of Darcy and I hope that future Monte Netball members will continue to ‘Do it for Darcy’.” 

So far Monte Netball club have raised an astonishing £6,306 (including gift aid), the fundraising link is still open to donations here.  

Darcy was a great friend to many including myself, a great teammate to all those she played netball with and a great course mate to all those she studied with. Now there is a trophy that will be awarded every year it is good to know that students who come and go from Southampton will continue to ‘Do it for Darcy’.  

If you have been affected by the contents of this article the following services are available for support: Samaritans, The Student Hub and The good grief hub  

Matt Smith (VP Sports)