Titahi Bay Tennis Clubbuilt tolast
‘‘"Ninety years is as good as 100, so let's celebrate that we've got the coolest club in the region"’’
Des Patterson got the worst phone call the president of a tennis club could get on Christmas morning, 1977.
An act of arson reduced the pavilion of his beloved Titahi Bay Tennis Club to ashes. It was something that was felt widely across the community, he said.
‘‘It was a real shock,’’ he said. ‘‘But what happened afterwards showed how people can come together as volunteers to rebuild. We made it better.’’
Fast forward nearly 40 years and Patterson, 87 years old and who can still get around the court, is looking forward to the club celebrating 90 years over Labour Weekend.
He said he is looking forward to seeing old faces and the new ones that represent the club’s bright future.
With the three artificial courts bedded in well, plans to extend the clubrooms ticking along and membership strong, Patterson - who joined in 1967, left in 1990, but returned in 2014 - is a content man.
The days of bottle drives, card evenings and raffles may have vanished into the history books for the tennis club in terms of fundraising, but Patterson said the volunteer spirit of mucking in will never die.
‘‘This club is made up of families. Some clubs are just for players but here we see parents as much involved as the young kids and there’s always a happy welcome for new members. I love it here - it fits into the village atmosphere that we have in the Bay.’’
Patterson said the club was leased the land by a nearby resident in 1926 and at some point the land was gifted. Titahi Bay Tennis Club is one of just three clubs in the region that owns its land and buildings.
President Mareta Randall said it’s important that volunteers such as Patterson are acknowledged during the anniversary festivities.
‘‘People like Des have left a legacy for us to continue and as far as we’re concerned, 90 years is as good as 100, so let’s celebrate that we’ve got the coolest club in the region,’’ she said.
Events will take place over the three days of Labour Weekend, Randall said. She expected more than 100 people to attend the reunion, some from as far away as Auckland and Australia.
Titahi Bay Tennis Club president Mareta Randall and past president and long-serving member Des Patterson are looking forward to the club’s upcoming 90th celebrations.