In the year 2020 we were to celebrate the club’s 70th Anniversary with plenty of events lined up to mark the success of the club, from having less than 50 members in the 1950s who played on land where Tothill now sits to having 435 members in 2020 on three artificial grass courts next to the New Beaconsfield Hall.
Sadly, Covid -19 hit us and put a stop to all these events, we were locked down at the beginning of the new season and unable to play; everything came to a stop.
Health officials and the government advocated the importance of exercise to keep our minds and bodies healthy during these difficult times. And as soon as the restrictions eased very careful guidelines were put in place to keep everyone safe and new members came rushing in to join us.
It has been a very rocky road for Chris Hampton, our club coach, but we have supported him all the way through as best we could.
We also wanted to do something to help anyone locally who had been affected by the restrictions of the virus so we advertised a free 10-week course to six non-members and the lucky participants relished this opportunity.
None of these ladies knew each other previously, and two of them were new to the village so unable to join other groups to meet people. These ladies all got on like a house on fire and benefited greatly from this opportunity to chat, laugh and learn or to refresh their racket and ball skills.
Quotes from a couple of them:
“The Tennisercise course has been great to be a part of. My muscle strength has increased and I feel my reaction times have improved. Having recently moved into this delightful area it was an enjoyable way to meet people. As a group we encouraged one another, there was a good atmosphere of competitiveness.”
“The Tennisercise class has been a bright light in the midst of all this pandemic. It has brought us all much needed fun, laughter and exercise!”
Our lighting application for two of the courts has been resubmitted in order to provide all-year round exercise facilities. Having electricity at the courts would enable us to install a ‘Smart Gate’ system with online payment for the local community to access in designated off-peak times.
Our rationale for having lights remains unchanged: to provide additional health (physical and mental), youth, community, sporting and well-being benefits for Shipton and the wider Wychwoods area – in particular for the 170 juniors in the club and for an increasingly large number of working adults and their families. This is a successful and important local facility with 42% of members living in the Wychwoods and another 39% within 5 miles. We want to effectively ‘unlock’ extra sport and health capacity on two courts that remain out of use for half the year for no reason other than darkness.
We are all looking forward to a much safer and active year.