Nation’s top tennis helper delighted at club’s success
HUNTINGDON Tennis Club chairman Nancy Riach is celebrating after winning a national award from the Lawn Tennis Association. News that Nancy had won the LTA volunteer of the year award came as the club celebrated its first anniversary of its move to new pr
HUNTINGDON Tennis Club chairman Nancy Riach is celebrating after winning a national award from the Lawn Tennis Association.
News that Nancy had won the LTA volunteer of the year award came as the club celebrated its first anniversary of its move to new premises in St Peter's Road.
Nancy, who is approaching her 70th birthday, has been involved with Huntingdon Tennis Club since she moved to the area 44 years ago.
And now Nancy has finally been recognised for all her hard work. She said: "It was wonderful news, very flattering and a great surprise to win the award.
"It's just a dream come true to finally see the club in a fantastic new home where everyone can come and play."
As part of Nancy's prize, she and husband Don were given two day tickets to Wimbledon where they saw Andy Murray win on centre court.
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Nancy, who was a PE mistress at Huntingdon Grammar School for 25 years, continued: "Ever since I arrived in Huntingdon all those years ago the club has never had a proper home to call its own.
"We've moved from pillar to post but thanks to a lot of dedication and hard work we managed to pull it off. These are the first public courts in Huntingdon and after years of struggling, finally there is tennis in the town for everyone.
"Since the move our adult membership has doubled and the junior membership is bulging as well. It's a success I never imagined."
Incredibly, Nancy still plays tennis three times a week and only stopped playing competitively recently.
And the grandmother of four already has her eye on the next generation of tennis stars. She said: "There are a few young talents coming through at the moment and it would be fantastic to possibly see them play at Wimbledon one day.
"We currently have two youngsters representing the UK in competitive action.
"But just to see so many people enjoying the courts makes it all worthwhile."
Huntingdon Tennis Club is holding a play day on July 22, offering the opportunity for anyone to get involved. Nancy said: "Last year the play day was a huge success and we had 200 schoolkids turn up. Hopefully this year will be just as popular."
The club is also offering summer courses for adults and juniors. Anyone interested should contact Clare Bragg on 01480 411412 or visit www.huntingdon.totaltennis.net.
Meanwhile, a tennis scheme for children in state primary and secondary schools is visiting Huntingdon.
Sir Cliff Richard's Tennis Trail is in town for the second time. The scheme will visit eight primary schools as well as two special schools in Huntingdon.
The charity donates tennis equipment to each school it visits and provides funding for a follow on coaching programme organised with Huntingdon Tennis Club.
Cliff Richard Tennis Foundation director Sue Mappin said: "We encourage children to involve themselves in a sport such as tennis so they can improve their overall well-being socially, mentally and physically.