Ti­tahi Bay Ten­nis Club­built to­last

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

‘‘"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.

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO

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.

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