At this year’s AGM, the award for Member of the Year was made, presented by last year’s winner Kevin Uwins.
Now in its 8th year, the award recognises contributions to the club that members make in some way.
This year 19 different people were nominated.
In the area of competitive play, Matt Hollister, Jeff Howe, Freddie Levett, Ben Laffont and Penny Allen were all recognised for the work they do, including the organising of team practice sessions & league matches, arranging team coaching and so on, and this year their effort has contributed to an improvement in both the standard of match play and the commitment of team players in their respective squads. The success of Kane Bolton, Rachel Banks and Frankie Bedi was also noted this year and certainly in the case of Frankie and Rachel that success has continued over many years in both club tournaments and team matches.
In the everyday running of the club, Len Claremont and Jim Kitchen were nominated for their continued outstanding service. And there were a number of other individuals whose contributions you felt were worthy of recognition for different reasons: Colin Reeve (for helping to revitalise the Friday night social sessions), Kerry Laws (as an enthusiastic leader within the beginner/improvers group), Ann Pritchard (for amongst other things, looking after the planters on the patio), Keith Lester(for his work on the events again this year), Raji Sharma Drake ( for ‘just being Raji!) and Ross Bolton (who was described as, ‘a sound geezer’!).
There was a tie for second place..
Joint runner up was Keith Claxton who is a long standing member of the club and in the last year has put in many hours of coaching for the juniors on a voluntary basis and his help has also been invaluable to Matt with the adult coaching programme. He has been very supportive and friendly to the beginners, helping them settle in, indeed making all newcomers to our club feel relaxed and welcome. He has put in great effort to ensure the club continues to keep up its membership by encouraging new beginners to join, and helps on practical issues such as with the clubhouse and the courts.
The other joint runner up was Gary Clements who showed ‘Unstinting cheerfulness and commitment in the organising of tournaments’… He did an outstanding job in running the tournaments this year and coped very well with all the ‘challenges’ that the role can sometimes bring. He was in attendance for all 14 of the finals played. Aside from the tournaments, he gives encouragement to new players, he is a proactive committee member and an all round ‘nice guy’!
The winner of this year’s Member of the Year Award was Mary Claremont who contributed so much to the club once again this year. She has worked tirelessly promoting Ladies tennis, culminating in the Ladies Day event in the Summer. She has also helped out with both the beginners/improvers sessions and their recent tournament. And she played key role in the running of the Wheelchair tournament in June despite having just had a knee operation. A great deal of work she does though is behind the scenes, such as the unglamorous yet essential tasks of fund raising, administration, advertising, promotion and even organising the Tea Rota! And not to mention the gardening and being joint Ladies team captain of course. There are numerous other things in which she gets involved. She has been called ‘the friendly and sensible face of Ashford Tennis Club’ but more than that the committee itself would struggle to function without her efforts. Many congratulations to Mary as the much deserved winner!
Thanks to everyone who took part in nominating a member this year.