Tribute paid to Shropshire’s Cathie Sabin OBE

Shropshire’s Cathie Sabin OBE, the LTA’s first female president, was truly an inspiration and a friend to many around the county and much further afield.

Cathie Sabin OBE
Cathie Sabin OBE

Many wonderful tributes have been paid to Cathie since she sadly passed away last week.

Her positive attitude and ability to engage with people from all walks of life were among her special qualities – and there were so many more during a lifetime devoted to sharing her love of tennis.

Tennis Shropshire chair Simon Jones said: “People like Cathie are rare. She had time for everyone and was always so positive. Cathie gave so much to tennis and was truly inspirational.

“A lot of people are involved in tennis today because of Cathie. The list of what she achieved goes on and on, but her heart always remained at grassroots level, particularly here in Shropshire, and she always had time for everyone.

“Cathie worked tirelessly to make tennis a sport for everyone and while she will be sadly missed, we should count ourselves fortunate to have had Cathie in our lives.

“There’s been so many tributes paid from the tennis world and also from former pupils she taught during her time at Shifnal’s Idsall School.

“Cathie was a truly wonderful human being and I, along with a lot of other people, was privileged to have been able to call Cathie a friend.”

Bob Kerr, the LTA councillor for Shropshire, added: “Cathie was truly inspirational. She never saw barriers, only challenges to move forward and the opportunities that would be created when those challenges were overcome.

“With a genuine ability to converse with everyone in the same way, whether royalty or the relative of a child she had taught decades ago, Cathie championed equality and integration.

“Cathie had a lifelong belief that the game of tennis, particularly at its grassroots, was a force for good in people’s lives.

“Passionate in her support of the LTA, and tennis in the wider world, Cathie had a special place in her heart for the tennis scene here in Shropshire.

“I consider myself privileged to have known our First Lady of Tennis and will remember our many conversations with great fondness.”

Cathie, who lived in Much Wenlock with her husband John, contributed so much to tennis since first picking up a racket at the age of seven.

At the heart of it all was a love of bringing more people into the sport, which she did for many years as a PE teacher at Shifnal’s Idsall School, and an incredible passion for recognising the people and volunteers from club to national level who help to grow tennis in Britain.

It was while at college that Cathie had the opportunity to coach in Newfoundland for a summer. It led to her love of coaching and teaching tennis to young people, the start of a journey that would see her use her own passion for the sport to benefit others over the coming decades.

She was in her twenties when she moved from Birmingham to become a teacher in Shropshire, the county she would go on to represent on court, as well as off court, for so many years.

Retirement from her teaching role at Idsall in 2005 – Cathie had received the LTA /Nestle Teacher of the Year Award five years earlier – allowed her to concentrate on serving as LTA councillor for Shropshire from 2001 to 2011.

Named National Volunteer of the Year in 2009, Cathie, who also served on the LTA board and numerous other LTA committees and working groups, was appointed deputy president of the LTA in 2011.

She was then so proud to be LTA president for three years from 2014-16 during a truly golden era for British tennis.

She attended all of the Grand Slams, supported the British Davis Cup team far and wide, including when they so memorably became champions for the first time in 79 years in Belgium, lent her support to the Fed Cup team in Eilat and Budapest, while she also witnessed Andy Murray win the Wimbledon men’s singles title and be crowned Olympic gold medalist in Rio for a second time.

Cathie loved her time as LTA president and, as much as she enjoyed the high-profile occasions, she relished the opportunity to support grassroots tennis by visiting every county in England, Scotland and Wales during her three-year term.

Her heart remained with county tennis, particularly with Shropshire. She passionately believed clubs, schools and the county scene to be the bedrock of tennis, where the development of the game could be encouraged.

A desire to recognise this saw Cathie instigate the introduction of the LTA Tennis Awards in 2016, acknowledging the people and volunteers from club to national level who help to grow tennis in Britain.

Among everything she has done for the sport, it was Cathie’s incredible passion for this that is regarded by many within the game as leaving an indelible impact on tennis in Britain.

Cathie’s impact was not just limited to Great Britain as at international level she was appointed a member of the ITF Olympic Committee in 2015.

From 2010 until the end of last year, she also represented the LTA on the committee of management of the Wimbledon Championships in conjunction with the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Cathie was awarded an OBE for services to tennis in 2016, with the presentation made by Prince Charles.

Such a busy schedule restricted the time Cathie was able to spend on court, although she continued to enjoy playing tennis with friends and was a member at both Bridgnorth Tennis Club and The Shrewsbury Club.

Further recognition for her outstanding contribution to tennis in Britain and internationally came Cathie’s way when she deservedly stepped into the spotlight as the recipient of the 2019 Carl Aarvold Award from the LTA.

First presented in 1982 and named after former LTA president Sir Carl Aarvold, it is regarded as the highest honour for individual services to tennis.

Cathie was presented with the prestigious award at last July’s LTA Tennis Ball in London and received a standing ovation from a packed audience, including county associations, British tennis fans and international tennis guests.

Cathie joined an illustrious roll of honour including multiple Grand Slam title winners Virginia Wade, Ann Jones and Peter Norfolk, Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, former Wimbledon tournament referee Alan Mills, and legendary tennis commentators Dan Maskell and John Barratt.

After collecting her award, Cathie said: “I am completely awestruck to have received this award. I’ve always said that everything I did I did because of the support given to me by everyone else involved in tennis.

“I’ve met some wonderful, wonderful people on the journey, and it is the British tennis family who have made it possible for me to receive this award.”

Cathie is survived by her husband John, her sons Ben and Simon and her grandchildren.

A Just Giving page has been set up in Cathie’s memory to raise funds in support of Myeloma UK, Severn Hospice and the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust.

Supporting Shropshire Live...
Shropshire Live
Shropshire Live has been providing Shropshire with independent news and entertainment since 2009. Send us your news to interact@shropshirelive.com or call 01743 818 095. For advertising information call Fiona on 01743 816 817.
Advertise with us for £50 per week

Advertisement Features

Cartwrights provide a convenient waste disposal solution

Do you need a skip or trade waste disposal solution? With a modern fleet of over 20 vehicles and a dedicated customer-focused team, Cartwrights can provide the service you need.
PPE in a box is designed to help keep your business operating at peak efficiency while providing the added layer of safety

Mail order PPE kits and COVID-19 testing to keep businesses operating

My Occ Health, in partnership Summerfield Healthcare, has produced a must-have mail-order kit of PPE supplies which can be delivered to businesses.
- Advertising -
Advertise with Shropshire Live for £50 per week

Witnesses sought after racially aggravated assault in Shrewsbury

Police are appealing for witnesses to a racially aggravated assault in Shrewsbury.
Kay White, the UK’s oldest Postmaster, who has achieved 60 years as Postmaster for Claverley Post Office in Shropshire

Claverley Postmistress celebrates 93rd birthday and 60 years running local post office

Claverley Postmistress, Kay White, is the UK’s oldest Postmaster and today celebrates her 93rd birthday.
Health and safety measures are already in force at the Haybridge campus

Telford College to safely ‘fully re-open’ in September

Telford College has announced plans to create a new ‘blended learning’ timetable which will allow all students to safely return to the campus in September.

Shrewsbury Town boss pours cold water on Joe Hart claims

Shrewsbury Town boss Sam Ricketts has revealed Joe Hart will not make an emotional return to the club despite national media claims.

Shrewsbury Town line up bid for Dunfermline striker Kevin Nesbit

According to reports Shrewsbury Town are interested in Scottish striker Kevin Nesbit as they look to secure their first post-season signing.
Captains, Chris and Stuart and Apperley

Hawkstone Park golf club event with League of Friends

Although Hawkstone Park Golf Club’s Centenary celebrations have been somewhat curtailed by the Covid-19 crisis, husband and wife Captains, Stuart and Chris Apperley have set members a mid-summer charity challenge of completing 100 consecutive holes in a day.
- Advertising -
High Street in Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury businesses staying positive as footfall continues to rise

Businesses in Shrewsbury are “taking each day as it comes” and staying positive, with footfall steadily increasing in the town centre during the coronavirus recovery.
mfg Solicitors has appointed partner and corporate law specialist Clare Lang as head of department

Shropshire law firm appoints new head of growing corporate team

A county law firm has appointed a new head of its Corporate department following a period of sustained growth.
The 1st Choice meeting room located in Jupiter House on Shrewsbury Business Park

1st Choice Insurance offers meeting space in exchange for charitable donation

Shrewsbury-based insurance broker 1st Choice Insurance is offering the use of its meeting space to local businesses in return for a charitable donation.

Cartwrights provide a convenient waste disposal solution

Do you need a skip or trade waste disposal solution? With a modern fleet of over 20 vehicles and a dedicated customer-focused team, Cartwrights can provide the service you need.
Amy Warhurst and daughter Josie

Shrewsbury drama group launches new online initiative

A Shropshire children's drama group has launched a new 'fly on the wall' initiative to encourage shy children to take the first step into a class.
'Stay With Us' breaks provide acres and acres of open space to run wild and free

‘We’ve Got This’ says charity as it launches new family stays

Shropshire-based UK charity, the Field Studies Council, has launched its brand new 'Stay With Us', no frills, family breaks at 12 countryside locations including its Preston Montford property near Shrewsbury.
- Advertising -

Severn Valley Railway to reopen for daily passenger services from August

Severn Valley Railway will reopen for daily passenger services from Saturday 1 August with a range of excursions aimed at bringing families together for an enjoyable day out.
hatfields 90s revival

Big finish for the 90’s Revival weekly lockdown live shows

Two well known Shropshire DJ’s are bringing their Facebook live weekly 90's music sessions to an end with one last live party this Saturday.
Step Back to the 1940s at the SVR. Photo: Paul Hastie

Severn Valley Railway to hold virtual 1940s event

The group behind the SVR’s ever popular Step Back to the 1940s events has come up with an exciting alternative in the face of this year’s cancellations.
The Railwayman's Arms in Bridgnorth. Photo: Tony Bending

SVR’s historic Shropshire pub set to reopen

The Railwayman’s Arms at the Severn Valley Railway’s Bridgnorth station is set to reopen on Saturday 4 July.
Donna Miles and David Cheshire pictured being handed their new lease by Wellington Mayor Anthony Lowe

New lease of life for Wellington café

A Wellington café which has been thriving during lockdown has secured its future with a new five-year lease.
Situated on the corner of the cobbled Fish Street and Grope Lane, the restaurant occupies a desirable location

French bistro and lounge bar to open in the heart of Shrewsbury town centre

A new French bistro and lounge bar is to open in the heart of Shrewsbury town centre.
- Advertisment -

Advertisement Features

Weather

Shropshire
overcast clouds
18.9 ° C
19.4 °
18 °
77 %
7.2kmh
100 %
Sat
19 °
Sun
16 °
Mon
16 °
Tue
17 °
Wed
18 °
- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -

Latest Articles

- Advertisment -