Tributes to Sheffield basketball 'colossus' Betty Codona after death aged 83

Betty Codona OBE has been described as an 'unrivalled colussus' of the women's game Credit: Sheffield Hatters

Tributes have been paid to Sheffield basketball legend Betty Codona, who helped pioneer the women's game, after she passed away at the age of 83.

Betty dedicated 60 years of her life to inspiring people to play the sport, founding the Sheffield Hatters, and going on to win countless titles.

She was awarded an OBE for services to basketball and later in her career became the chair of England Basketball.

The Women's British Basketball League called her an "unrivalled colossus in the women's game".

Basketball England chief executive Stewart Kellett said: "Betty lived an amazingly full and productive life.

"Her passion, determination and selflessness in promoting and serving the sport, and in particular, women’s basketball, has been unparalleled in terms of its success and influence.

"She was one of a kind. Her spirit and generosity saw her contribute to the sport and her community in Sheffield over such a long period of time, positively impacting so many lives. She will be greatly missed but her fantastic legacy is rightly a huge source of pride form her family and the Hatters club and all of us in basketball."

Betty Codona was awarded an OBE for services to basketball Credit: Sheffield Hatters

In a statement, Betty's family described her as "an inspiration for all".

They said: "She was determined, relentless, intelligent and most of all passionate. Betty’s ethos will live on through every female who has represented the Hatters. Everyone here within the Hatters are deeply saddened but we stand united to carry on Betty’s values and beliefs as we respect the past and we will forge the future."

Betty's two daughters went on to play at the highest level of basketball in England throughout the 1980s and 1990s before following Betty's footsteps into coaching.

This weekend there will be 24 seconds of applause before each game across the BBL, WBBL, and NBL as the sport pauses to remember her.