84 year old Ron Smith from Nantwich Tennis Club in Cheshire made a special visit to Wimbledon last week to receive the LTA Meritorious Award from Martin Corrie; President of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) & Deputy President, David Rawlinson. The accolade came on the back of Cheshire LTA awarding him a Lifetime Achievement Award in November 2016 for his contribution to tennis in Cheshire.
Ron enjoyed lunch and afternoon tea in the President’s Suite and also had the opportunity to watch some tennis on Centre Court before receiving his award from the President: ‘They presented me with a small plate with my name and the date on. Along with the sunshine and a lovely lunch in hospitality it was absolutely first class’ he said. From his seat in Centre Court, Ron was treated to world class tennis from Great Britain’s Johanna Konta & Andy Murray as well as Rafael Nadal during day 3 of the Championships.
The Meritorious Award recognised Ron’s work as a volunteer at Nantwich Tennis Club, which spans 17 years. Since 1990, Ron has contributed to many improvements at the club including negotiating the purchase of land from Cheshire East Council and raising money to install 2 new TigerTurf courts and floodlights at the club:
‘It’s been a bit of a journey to develop the 6 fully floodlit courts we have at Nantwich today’ said Ron. ‘We now have two different court surfaces at the club; hard macadam and TigerTurf. We used to have a shed back in the 80’s and now we also have a brick clubhouse which is lovely after matches in the summer’.
Ron started playing tennis in the 1950s as a teenager before his career in banking saw him move around the UK. He finally settled in Nantwich in 1976, retiring 16 years later in 1992 - but has yet to retire from tennis! He can still be found playing every Friday with his fellow vets at the age of 84!
‘I have slowed down a bit now but still play once a week as well as helping organise players at our regular club nights’ explained Ron.