Hard work serves up a club of the year prize for Gidea Park at LTA Tennis Awards
PUBLISHED: 11:00 24 April 2020
Three years of hard work have paid off in style for Gidea Park Lawn Tennis Club after hitting the jackpot in the LTA Tennis Awards.
The Romford club have welcomed in nearly 150 new members since Tom Higgins arrived as head coach in 2017 – returning to where he first played the game as a youngster.
The numbers are certainly impressive with 440 members of all ages and ability on board, but it’s the ethos and mentality of all at Gidea Park that has taken them to new heights.
That togetherness has seen them rewarded by the wider tennis community too, with Park named Club of the Year for the Central & East region by the sport’s national governing body.
“I took on the club three years ago. We had nearly 300 members but since then we’ve got more than 440 so we’ve had a really big transformation in the club,” said Higgins, who represented Great Britain at tennis as a junior.
“The club and committee have been very supportive in allowing me to do events, outreach work in schools and, with a good coaching team in place, the membership growth has done really well.
“Most importantly, we’ve got a really good adult social side in place which wasn’t there in the club before.
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“We’re a very inclusive club, but still one that’s reaching the heights of winning regional championships in the men’s team.
“The biggest thing about this club is that everyone knows everyone’s name and you feel a big part of this. It’s why it stood out in the county.
“That’s down to the work of everybody from the chairman, to the coaches, and those who do all the work behind the scenes that allow us to highlight these achievements.”
Successful regional winners will now progress through to the LTA’s National finals in each of their respective categories, with Gidea Park’s accomplishments to be judged alongside the best in the country.
LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said: “These awards acknowledge the extraordinary contribution of the individuals and venues that help us open tennis up, bringing new fans and players to our sport.
“Now more than ever, it is important we celebrate their contributions and hope that tennis can rally together to get through this very challenging time.”
Launched in 2015, the LTA Tennis Awards serve to acknowledge the many thousands of individuals involved in tennis – from the 25,000 volunteers, 4,400 coaches and 940 officials, as well as the 20,000 schools, 2,700 clubs and over 9,700 LTA approved tournaments across the country.
Now in their fifth year, a record number of 2,100 nominations were received nationally for this year’s awards.
*For more information about the work the LTA is doing to grow tennis in Britain, log onto www.LTA.org.uk.
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