The success of Shropshire tennis has been impressively recognised with a hat-trick of regional winners in this year’s Lawn Tennis Association Awards.
It is the second successive year the county has provided three regional winners for the Midlands.
Launched in 2015, the prestigious LTA Awards recognise individuals involved in tennis at grassroots, county and regional level, with awards including the Cathie Sabin Volunteer of the Year, Development Coach of the Year and Official of the Year.
They also celebrate the achievements of British players competing on the international tennis stage.
After being announced as the winner of the Shropshire award at an awards ceremony held virtually earlier this year owing to Covid-19 restrictions, Nigel Stonier, the chair of Woore Tennis Club, has now been named as Midlands Volunteer of the Year.
There’s further regional LTA recognition for two more of the Shropshire winners, with Ellesmere College the region’s School of the Year, with Wrekin and Telford Tennis Community named as the Communities and Parks Award winners for the Midlands.
The trio of Shropshire winners will now join the other recipients of regional awards from across the country, together with winners from Tennis Wales and Tennis Scotland, at this month’s virtual LTA Tennis Awards.
The presentation ceremony, broadcast on the LTA’s YouTube channel at 8pm on Thursday, June 24, will be hosted by Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, with players, celebrities and special guests presenting the awards.
A record-breaking 2,600 entries were received for this year’s LTA awards. First judged at county level, which resulted in 380 winners, the county winners were then put forward for regional awards.
Sarah Downes, Tennis Shropshire’s LTA Awards co-ordinator, said: “For Shropshire to have three regional winners for the Midlands for the second successive year is a wonderful achievement.
“Congratulations to our three regional winners and also to six more of our Shropshire winners who were highly commended in the regional awards.
“We are so proud of our tennis community here in Shropshire. These awards are another illustration of the difference tennis has been able to make to players, families and local communities in challenging times during the pandemic.
“It’s nice to see that the amazing work that has been put in has been recognised regionally, and we wish our Shropshire representatives good luck as they now progress to the national finals.”
Volunteer of the Year Nigel Stonier provided leadership throughout the last year, calling all of Woore Tennis Club’s large membership five times during lockdown.
He was also responsible for instigating a fundraising event which raised around £3,000 for club funds.
Wrekin and Telford Tennis Community received the Communities and Parks Award following a year in which they managed to turn a very difficult situation into a strong positive.
The club’s home courts were not available last summer owing to lockdown, but they showed creativity to find park courts where they could play and linked in with coaches able to support players.
Steps were taken to ensure the club’s juniors could continue to play, while a number of other youngsters, newcomers to tennis, were encouraged to try tennis for the first time.
Ellesmere College is one of five schools in contention for the national LTA School of the Year Award.
A school recognised for its excellence at providing pupils with the opportunity to play tennis, Ellesmere College managed to keep tennis going during the pandemic by making sure students could still play safely.
A further six Shropshire winners received highly commended regional awards, with David Rawlings (lifetime achievement), Taylor Youens (young volunteer), Cound and District Tennis Club (club of the year), Adam Wharf (performance coach), Simon Haddleton (official of the year) and Battle of Shropshire (competition of the year) all recognised.