Last Sunday evening, Romsey & Abbey Tennis Club held a ‘Summer Celebration’ to thank all those who had been involved in the funding and provision of the upgrade of its courts and the installation of floodlights.
Among the invited guests were our MP, Mrs Caroline Nokes, the Town Mayer, Councillor Peter Hurst, members of the town and Hampshire County Councils, and representatives from TVBC Leisure Services, the LTA, and some of the funding bodies, whose grants had also allowed the club to develop its community and outreach programmes at the club and in the wider community.
The evening began with a welcome from the Chairman Meriel Fiddes, who thanked everyone for coming and said that the event would showcase some of the activities taking place within the club and in the community. The proceedings continued with a presentation of trophies. A year ago, the club had lost a longstanding and very keen member, David Hannah, to cancer, and a trophy had been set up in his memory to be awarded to the junior who had shown the most commitment to the club in the previous year. On this first occasion the award had gone to Peter Findlay, and David’s wife Kaye was there to present Peter with the David Hannah Memorial Trophy. In addition, the Mike Thompson Memorial Cup for the winners of the Road to Wimbledon, a competition for juniors, was also presented. The most recent winners were Tia Arion for the girls and Dev Daas for the boys, but unfortunately Dev was unwell and unable to attend, so Tia received the trophy from the chairman.
The secretary, Gill Pletcher was presented with a bouquet in thanks for her efforts in organising the event, and thanks were also given to the Social Secretary for her organisation of the finger buffet provided for guests during the evening. Finally, the Chairman said that the Club owed a huge debt of gratitude to its Club Development Officer, Veronica Broughton Shaw, whose professional services had steered the upgrade in facilities that the club was now enjoying. Veronica had worked long and tirelessly in negotiations and funding applications over the past two years to bring the club to its present state and was continuing to lead the next stage of the redevelopment, improved clubhouse facilities. Without Veronica’s sterling help, the club would have got nowhere, and had it had to pay for her services, would have been bankrupt in addition. In recognition of her past and ongoing efforts on the Club’s behalf, Veronica was presented with a certificate of Honorary Life Membership of the Club, a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne.
The evening then continued with a programme of activities on the courts. On one court, the Club coach Richard Libby demonstrated the techniques used in three different coaching sessions, with youngsters aged 5-7 years, with members of his ’Us Girls’ group and with a group taking part in cardio tennis, a fast paced exercise routine to music with balls and racquets. On the other court, the programme started with a demonstration set played by 4 of the junior leaders. This was followed by an exhibition of wheelchair tennis organised by David Gardner, the club’s wheel chair coach. After a demonstration of how it should be done by David and his hitting partner, David invited anyone who would like to try, to use one of the club’s tennis wheelchairs and have a go. The Town Mayor and Bob Battersby from the LTA, were among those sporting enough to try, and they discovered that it was no mean feat to steer a sports wheelchair fast enough to get to a tennis ball on its second bounce and then to free up one hand to actually hit it. The final event was an exhibition set by members of the Club’s Apsley League team, during which the floodlights were turned on to demonstrate the excellent playing conditions the lights provided.
During the tennis programme, guests chatted to members, enjoyed the buffet and the tennis and a pleasant evening was had by all. Thankfully, in spite of a forecast of possible showers and some very black clouds at about 7.00 o’clock, the evening remained dry and warm.
(Photos by Kate Jackson)