Cash is ‘lifesaver’

ACE NEWS Members of the club at a social tennis session.
ACE NEWS Members of the club at a social tennis session.

A £20,000 grant has secured the future of a tennis club.

Thornhill Tennis Club were in the “last chance saloon” with crumbling courts that were almost unsuitable for playing on until they were awarded the charity cash.

Chairman Wade Hyde said the money was “a real lifesaver”. He added: “The surface of one of the courts is cracking up and the playing surface is uneven.

“The Huddersfield League said one court was not playable for the coming season and that the deterioration of the other two courts over the last 12 months was so extreme that it was doubtful visiting teams would play on the courts.”

Mr Hyde said the club’s own members were complaining so moving quickly to repair the courts was vital. He had made a number of unsuccessful attempts to secure funds until the SITA Trust, an independent funding body which provides funding through the Landfill Communities Fund, stepped in.

“It’s been a real lifesaver,” said. “We would have been in real problems otherwise.”

Marek Gordon CEO and chairman of SITA Trust added “We are delighted to have been able to support this project through the Landfill Communities Fund. This important source of funding has been available since 1997 and has provided such worthy projects with more than £1.2 billion.”

The 20-year-old all-weather courts will be all be resurfaced and painted in two tone green and the white court lines repainted. The nonslip surface should last another 20 years.

Just over £4,000 from the Dewsbury Area Committee and a similar amount from the club’s own coffers will also go towards the project.

Work will start on March 17 and is expected to be completed by mid-April. In the meantime, Thornhill Community Academy has allowed the club, which has about 50 members, free use of its courts at weekends for nothing.

Mr Hyde hopes the improvements will increase the profile and membership of the club. The recruitment and training of young players has already proved very successful, with three juniors in the men’s first team which won promotion to first division of the Huddersfield Tennis League.

The club, which is based at Thornhill Cricket and Bowling Club, The Combs, is holding its junior awards this evening from 7.30pm.