For many people Mary Thomas was England Netball and Umpiring.
Her playing, umpiring and coaching started in Lincolnshire in 1948, then various moves saw her in Kent, then Norfolk and finally in Sussex. In 1947 gained Panel umpiring award at the age of 19 and represented England in the first senior netball team in 1948, together with receiving Advanced Coaching Award in 1963 – amongst only 6 people who received this.
She gained international umpiring status and presented papers at the first World Championship in 1963. She held AENA National positions of Vice Chair, Vice President, and National technical Officer between 1978 – 1987. She was awarded England Netball Honorary Life Membership in 1989, awarded IFNA Service to Netball 1995, and an MBE in 1995.