Glasgow-based coach Lesley Whitehead has been recognised for her long-standing work with disabled tennis players after receiving Tennis Scotland’s Disability Award for 2014.
Whitehead has established a highly successful learning disability tennis programme in Glasgow in the last two years in partnership with Glasgow Disability Sport and Tennis Scotland, linking with local schools and community groups.
Glasgow Disability Tennis is one of 40 disability tennis networks around the UK supported by the Tennis Foundation aimed at encouraging learning disability, wheelchair, deaf and visually impaired players and promoting tennis as a sport for all abilities.
Whitehead has a long history of working with learning disability players, as a coach at national camps and as Special Olympics Great Britain National Tennis Coaching and Competitions Advisor, and has accompanied Great Britain tennis players to a number of international competitions.
She is now at the forefront of a national programme for learning disability performance players and earlier this year was Head Coach for Great Britain at the 6th INAS World Tennis Championships in France, where British players won two gold medals and a silver medal.
Whitehead is also a referee and organised a learning disability regional tennis tournament in partnership with the Tennis Foundation and Tennis Scotland in Glasgow in September this year, with 24 players from across Great Britain competing in the event in its first year. She recently returned from the 11th National Learning Disability Tennis Event in Nottingham, where players that she coaches at Scotstoun Indoor Tennis Centre won a number of medals.
"I am delighted to receive the Disability Award from Tennis Scotland. The opportunities for disabled people in Glasgow and surrounding areas to learn to play and enjoy tennis is growing fast. It is so rewarding to see players develop and gain so much confidence in their own abilities," said Whitehead, who was also named Aegon British Tennis Official of the Year 2013 last November.
For more information about Glasgow Disability Tennis weekly coaching sessions for learning disability, wheelchair and visually impaired players contact Lesley Whitehead on 07590 901678.
Lesley Whitehead receives her Tennis Scotland Disability Award before a Glasgow Disability Tennis coaching session at Scotstoun Indoor Tennis Centre (from left to right) Alasdair Forrest (Assistant) Gregor Boyd, Gordon Taylor, Lesley Whitehead, Stephen MacMillan, Garry Hamilton.