Our Man in Westminster
As we swelter in the heatwave and enjoy our second ‘Great Summer of Sport’ in a row, my thoughts turn to tennis. Not just Andy Murray but the equally important issue of how to nurture the game’s grassroots in our local area.
I have a particular personal interest in this because, although I love many sports, tennis is the one I was best at in my youth, playing to a reasonable level.
So I always enjoy my visits to Wye Tennis Club, which over the past 10 years has been a model of how to grow an excellent sports facility in a small place.
The celebration last Sunday was twofold. We were officially opening a new fifth court, which will allow the club to meet the ever-growing demand and it was receiving an award from Wye Parish Council for its community work.
That award is well-deserved. Even in a place like Wye, which has a refreshingly large number of well-supported local bodies, the tennis club stands out as ambitious and successful.
Not only does it have several hundred adult members, but it has established a healthy relationship with the primary school enabling pupils to have weekly coaching sessions. This in turn means that the school is producing winners in Kentwide tournaments, where it comes up against much bigger schools.
With the support of the Lawn Tennis Association and others, Wye Tennis Club is bigger and better than ever before, and has become a centre of excellence which I hope we can repeat in other small clubs.
This is a cheerful thought on which this column will retire for a few weeks for its summer break. With an extensive book list to hand and a fervent wish for no crisis to intrude, I will be back in a few weeks. Have a good summer.