LTA president David Rawlinson enjoys his visit to Shropshire

Lawn Tennis Association president David Rawlinson’s visit to Shropshire proved a great success as he enjoyed spending time at a number of clubs and venues. 

Mr Rawlinson’s two days in Shropshire also enabled him to meet some of the many volunteers who give so much time to ensure that tennis continues to flourish in the county.

Bob Kerr, the LTA councillor for Shropshire, who, along with Tennis Shropshire chair Simon Jones, accompanied the president on his county tour, said: “David visited seven venues and it was a really good mix around the county.

“Both David and his wife Brenda said they thoroughly enjoyed their visit and they felt it represented Shropshire in a good light.

“It gave them a very good flavour of what Shropshire is about, not just from a tennis perspective, but also in terms of the county’s geography. 

“The hospitality from all the clubs we visited was fantastic, with an excellent turn out of members.

“Tea and cake was enjoyed along the way while David also had the chance to pick up a racket at some of the clubs he visited.”    

Mr Rawlinson’s county visit started at Telford Tennis Centre where he was given a guided tour of the venue.

He met officers from Telford & Wrekin Council, who manage the building, and Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member Councillor Eileen Callear, who holds the portfolio for leisure in the borough.

There was plenty of activity taking place on the indoor courts owing to the wet weather, including a summer camp organised by Nigel Hunter, with the LTA president also chatting to club members of Telford and Wrekin Tennis Community.

Two north Shropshire clubs hosted Mr Rawlinson in the afternoon as he headed first to Tilstock Bowling and Tennis Club before moving on to Hollies Tennis Club in Whitchurch.

Club chair Simon Fullard and vice-chair Mitch Hayes welcomed him to Tilstock, with Mr Rawlinson officially opening a purpose built junior court ahead of having the opportunity to play tennis with some of the club’s younger members on the new court.  

He was greeted at Hollies Tennis Club by chair Jon Gilbert, secretary Sandra Logan and treasurer Mike Shrimplin, with his visit including the opportunity to watch Hollies men’s team playing in a league match.   

The following day started with meeting Tennis Shropshire officials at The Shrewsbury Club ahead of visits to Cound & District Tennis Club, Shrewsbury Lawn Tennis Club and Bishop’s Castle Tennis Club.

Mr Rawlinson was welcomed to Cound by chair Pippa Walker, coach Fiona Edwards and long-serving member David Rawlings, last year’s Shropshire winner of the LTA lifetime achievement award.

The LTA president unveiled a plaque to commemorate both his visit and the 50th anniversary of the club before joining in with a popular wooden rackets tournament involving many Cound members.  

It was then off to Shrewsbury Lawn Tennis Club where Mr Rawlinson was particularly interested to learn from chair Steve Pearce about the difficulties they have faced in recent times with flooding.  

The final county club to welcome the president was Bishop’s Castle Tennis Club, where he was greeted by club president Clive Millard, Bishop’s Castle mayor Grant Perry and local councillor Ruth Houghton.  

Mr Rawlinson unveiled a weather shelter, which has been named after Lucy Taylor, the club’s coach, before playing a singles match against a club member to end his busy and enjoyable visit to Shropshire.

Pictured: LTA president David Rawlinson with Lucy Taylor after opening the weather shelter which has been named after her at Bishop's Castle Tennis Club.