Dorset’s British Tennis Award Winners

Presentations were made last night at this year’s AGM to our County British Tennis Award Winners.

Congratulations to all the winners and also to those who were nominated.


Lifetime Achievement Award – Catherine Barrow
Catherine started as a parent volunteer in the 1980’s at East Dorset Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club to help with the Junior section.  She went on to take over the running of this section as Junior Secretary and a place on the Club’s committee which she has stayed on until this day. In this role she has developed the Junior section within the club, developed school links and helped with the appointment of coaches. She sat on the committee of the Dorset Open and eventually chaired this committee and became Organiser and Secretary for this event.

Volunteer of the Year – Hugh Richards
Hugh Richards, a relatively new member of St Leonards & St Ives Tennis Club quickly volunteered to help with its running on joining.   He joined the committee 2 years ago in charge of maintenance. This year he masterminded  the major project of replacing the floodlights, the court surface, installing 2 mini courts and giving a “Facelift ” to the clubhouse.  He researched different lights and lighting companies, different types of court surface and contractors capable of doing the work and applied for planning permission.  He researched  and purchased all new court necessities  – nets, posts, scoreboards, benches, signage etc. He saved considerable amounts of money by “stripping out” the old courts using the manpower of club volunteers . He sold the court surface, the brick surround and fencing.  All this has resulted in 4  fantastic LED floodlit artificial clay courts, 2 new mini courts and a refurbished clubhouse, and it’s renewed enthusiasm from club members.

Young Person of the Year – Sarah
Sarah has been volunteering at the club since 2013.  She has helped out in weekly Adult Learning disability tennis sessions since 2013.  She inspires a lot of the players to turn up and play tennis each week.  She also volunteers each week in 2-3 coaching sessions for young children aged between 4-8 yr olds.  This gives the children extra support and help in their tennis experience.  Sarah also helps out scoring in competitions and social events at the tennis club.  Sarah has a great manner about her and due to this keeps the children motivated and concentrated on their tennis. Sarah plays to a good standard herself and trains 5 times her week.  Even doing this and her A levels she still finds time to help out and inspire grass root tennis players.

Coach of the Year – Brett Townsend
Brett has developed a fantastic community programme at Poole Park in Dorset and in just 6 months has had some great successes including getting 100 new children and 75 adults into regular coached activity.

Brett received a few nominations with one being made because of his passion for Tennis For Free (TFF) which he launched in the summer.  In week one he had 89 participants and now has had 600 people registered to the sessions, with 30-40 attending each week.  Brett has really embraced the ethos of TFF, is passionate about getting people on court and makes his sessions thoroughly inclusive.  Brett regularly has 3 players with special needs attending and also has invested in a dedicated player with Asperger’s who, with Brett’s support, has completed his Level 1 and assists on the TFF programme.

All in all Brett has created a programme for all and has had great impact on the community.

Club of the Year – East Dorset Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club
The club has continued to improve their facilities by investing in new courts and is looking to widen their appeal. They have also worked hard on their social media and continued with a members bar and good catering. Their new grass courts are aimed to not only to satisfy members but also to give an opportunity to secure county week, stage more competitions and work with the local parks operators to give them an opportunity to play on grass.

The committee have worked hard to get new artificial clay courts and invested in re-laying the grass courts to widen their appeal.

They are looking to offer the new grass courts which are one of the few grass facilities in Dorset to local parks’ users and other clubs to take advantage of this special playing surface.

Community Award – Branksome Park Tennis
Branksome Park Tennis (BPT) provides an excellent range of quality coaching sessions that meets the community needs. The coaching timetable is inclusive of all ages from mini red (4-8 years), mini orange (8-10 years), mini green (10+ years), and junior yellow (12+ years); to coaching intermediate improvers (Rusty Rackets) and advanced training (advanced +).  BPT also offers a Tennis Xpress for beginners, 1-2-1 coaching, as well as coffee morning socials for those who want non-competitive casual play. The number of people playing tennis has increased within the first year seeing 24 members grow to 305, and second year to 429 members.

BPT is a well-known fully accessible community venue that attracts individuals and family memberships from across Poole. The facility is always busy, no matter what time of day, seeing locals join in for the coffee morning socials, and afterschool coaching sessions for children aged 4 – 12 years.

All sessions attract players with all abilities, from different backgrounds, making the sessions inclusive for all. Coaches at BPT host children’s birthday parties and events, as well as run summer camps, which cater for the interests and parental needs of many in the local community.

Testimonial by a member;

“Ace club, well worth making a racquet about. I can’t fault it; I have a ball every lesson. The coaches are a smash hit. These are by no means backhanded compliments. It really is Murray good. (That last pun was awful but jokes aside I would definitely recommend). Come play tennis!”

Official of the Year – David Walrond
David makes a huge contribution to tennis officiating and competition in Dorset heading up the Dorset LTA Competition Committee putting in a large amount of time to county competiton planning.  Supporting officials less experienced than himself on a regular basis via email and in person at events. Giving people opportunity to gain experience at larger tournaments they might not have the chance to normally attend early into their officiating career.

David works tirelessly at events to make sure everything is covered and planned which is recognised by parents and players alike. He helps out at tournaments when caught short and is always willing to offer support to the officiating team.