Sheffield club serves up festival as courts are unveiled

Members of Stocksbridge Tennis Club,Linden Cres,Stocksbridge, taking part in a sponsored tennis rally to raise funds to replace its courts or the club may have to fold.
Members of Stocksbridge Tennis Club,Linden Cres,Stocksbridge, taking part in a sponsored tennis rally to raise funds to replace its courts or the club may have to fold.
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A tennis club that members feared could close because of its courts’ condition is serving up a celebration to unveil the new facilities.

Stocksbridge Tennis Club will host a free tennis festival this Saturday to mark the success of its Save Our Courts campaign.

The club was under threat last year because of the run-down state of its four courts, which were uneven, slippery and worn.

But members and supporters united to secure its future. Despite being turned down for larger grants, they managed to raise the money needed to resurface and resize the courts with fundraising events and by sourcing small pots of funding.

Members have also pitched in by digging trenches, breaking up the old steps and cutting fences to make the new facilities a reality.

And the courts will be unveiled on Saturday in a special ceremony.

Club chairman Martin Jackson said around £45,863 had been raised in total by supporters.

He added: “This time last year we thought the club could not continue without new courts and now we have them.

“This is a great achievement for a small community club with no big grants.

“The most generous has been the Co-op Community Fund which gave us £1,180 and Sheffield Town Trust with £1,000.

“We’ve also had smaller grants from local organisations and have begged contributions from members and the public and many in the community have recognised the club is worth keeping.

“Our ambitions have absolutely been realised, we started off just wanting to resurface the courts and we have done a lot more than we ever imagined.

“We are thankful to have been able to use Penistone Grammar School’s tennis courts while the work has been done but are delighted to be back playing at the courts in Stocksbridge.

“We really hope people come along on Saturday, try out the new courts and join in the fun.”

Work began on the courts in March.

Three now meet the Lawn Tennis Association’s requirements, and one has been raised six inches to make it level, while all have been extended.

Saturday’s tennis festival begins at 1pm and runs until 5pm, with the opening ceremony at 3pm.

Coaches will run different tennis activities and it is hoped the day will encourage beginners to pick up a racket and play.

The club still has to raise £4,000 to paint the new courts and members hope to get floodlights installed in future.

Visit Stocksbridge Tennis Club to make a donation or be a sponsor.