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Sonia Joy McKell

AU Australia

12th July 1956 to 18th March 2004

Sonia was an integral part of the sport of baton twirling. She involved herself at the local club level, working up through to state, national and eventually the international level. She had a huge influence on the Australian Baton Twirling Association.

Sonia started her twirling career as most of us around her age did as a Drum Majorette, evolving through the years along with the sport into a baton twirler. Her club, Illawarra, (a suburb of Sydney) were the team representatives the first time Australia competed at the 1987 World Baton Twirling Championships. She was a member of that team and always said that competing on the world stage was a highlight of her twirling career.

From that year onwards, Sonia involved herself in encouraging Australian athletes to compete at the world level, knowing that by doing this, we as a country, could only improve our skills by utilising the experience and knowledge our athletes brought back.

Throughout her twirling career Sonia took on the responsibilities of State President, State Head Judge, National Head Judge, Technical Advisor and between the years 1993-1998 and 1999-2004 the job of President of the Australian Baton Twirling Association.

She was responsible for contracting coaches from USA, Japan, Italy and France. This was an ongoing commitment, to expose the members to as much diverse twirling knowledge as possible.

Sonia was the coach of the Australian team who represented Australia in Holland 2000, France 2001 and this year 2004. Her athletes miss her terribly but know that she will be watching them in Osaka, Japan. Sonia was a sergeant in the New South Wales police force and spent her working days at Marrickville Police Station. At her funeral, the Police Commissioner of New South Wales described Sonia as a caring, compassionate colleague whose ethics and morals were above reproach. This was Sonia.

Her partner John and beautiful son Jarrad survive Sonia. The birth of Jarrad in 2001 seemed to complete Sonia's life, the joy and happiness he brought both her and John seemed to make the last 2 years all the more special. The suddenness of Sonia's passing was a shock to all who knew and loved her. But her kindness, compassion, knowledge and skills she has left with us will ensure she will always be a part of the Australian Baton Twirling Association.

Sonia will remain in our hearts forever.