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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Shropshire winners deservedly recognised with county LTA Tennis Awards

The outstanding contribution made by so many to tennis in Shropshire was recognised as the county’s winners of Lawn Tennis Association Awards deservedly stepped into the spotlight.

Keith Smith, right, the Tennis Shropshire president, presents the club of the year award to Steve Pearce, the chair of Shrewsbury Lawn Tennis Club
Keith Smith, right, the Tennis Shropshire president, presents the club of the year award to Steve Pearce, the chair of Shrewsbury Lawn Tennis Club

The annual LTA Tennis Awards highlight and reward the excellent achievements of people, clubs and schools around the county.

Shropshire winners were announced at Tennis Shropshire’s recent AGM, with the recipients of county trophies now going forward to the regional awards for the Midlands.

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The regional winners, to be announced in April, will then make up the LTA Tennis Awards National finalists.

Launched in 2015, Shropshire’s former LTA president Cathie Sabin – who was always so passionate about recognising the efforts of the many thousands of inspirational individuals involved in tennis – was instrumental in the awards being introduced.

Tennis Shropshire chair Fiona Jones said: “As ever, the annual LTA Awards is a lovely opportunity to recognise all the great work that people do for tennis across the county.

“It was wonderful that the presentation held during the AGM was so well attended, with Keith Smith, the president of Tennis Shropshire who has contributed so much to tennis in the county, presenting the trophies.

“Many congratulations to all of the winners and to everyone who was nominated.”

Trevor Sorkin, who lives in Shrewsbury, received the lifetime achievement award.

A coach at both Shrewsbury’s Town Walls Tennis Club and Cound Tennis Club, Trevor first picked up a tennis racket at the age of 12.

After a long and successful playing career, which included playing against three former Grand Slam men’s singles champions, he continues to enjoy spending time on court coaching at the age of 81.

Shrewsbury Lawn Tennis Club was named as Shropshire’s club of the year.

Renowned as a friendly, welcoming club set in the heart of Shrewsbury on the edge of the Quarry alongside the River Severn, the club has six grass courts, five resurfaced floodlit hard courts and a clubhouse.

Baschurch Tennis Club’s Brendan Markland received the volunteer of the year trophy. Instrumental in helping to upgrade the club’s facilities, he has been a volunteer for 14 years.

An invaluable member of the committee and a former chair of the club, Brendan took on the role of premises manager and has maintained the Baschurch courts to a high standard.

The performance coach of the year award was won by Jon Lawton, who coaches players at The Shrewsbury Club, while David Parry, the head coach at Wem Tennis Club, who has played a key role in driving the north Shropshire club forward, was named as development coach of the year.

Carlton Adams received the official of the year award for his continued dedication as league secretary for both the Shropshire Autumn and Summer Leagues.

Amy Dannatt from The Shrewsbury Club was selected as Shropshire’s rising star of the year. As she continues to gain experience as a referee, Amy has played a leading role as an official in ensuring popular events in the Shropshire tennis calendar, including the County Championships and Battle of Shropshire, are such a success.

Henry Broadhurst was recognised for his work with the schools’ programme for Tennis Shropshire and The Shrewsbury Club as he received the connecting communities award. Henry, who also spends a lot of working at Tennis Shropshire’s Cathie Sabin Community Tennis Centre, also helped organise a successful family fun day during the ITF World Tennis Tour event at The Shrewsbury Club last November.

Oswestry’s Derwen College was named as school of the year. A specialist college for young adults aged 16-25 with special educational needs and disabilities, Derwen College has strong links with Tennis Shropshire with students able to enjoy regular tennis sessions.

The competition of the year award went to The Shrewsbury Club for successfully staging the ITF World Tennis Tour W100 tournament last November.

The high-profile event, sponsored by Budgen Motors, brought world class women’s tennis to Shropshire, with Czech Republic star Marketa Vondrousova, a former French Open finalist, winning both the singles and doubles titles.

Many local volunteers played a key part in the tournament’s success, with a number of other hospitality events held alongside the tennis during an enjoyable week.

There was also a very special award for Bob Kerr, the former Tennis Shropshire chair and LTA councillor for Shropshire, as he was posthumously awarded an LTA Meritorious Service Award.

Bob, who sadly passed away in December 2021, was hugely respected by Shropshire’s tennis community and also much further afield for his outstanding contribution to the continued development of the sport. He always ensured the voice of grassroots tennis was heard.

Bob was also the driving force behind Tennis Shropshire’s Cathie Sabin Community Tennis Centre, devoting so much time to the project, with his excellent work one of the main reasons it was successfully delivered ahead of its opening last September.

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