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Basford Lawn Tennis Club unveils refurbishment of historic courts

By michelle chow

Dorothy Whitehouse, 83, the clubs oldest member, officially cut the ribbon for the new courts.

TENNIS players are eagerly awaiting the start of the new season after unveiling a £100,000 refurbishment of their historic courts.

Two of the four courts at Basford Lawn Tennis Club have been transformed after a grant of £50,000 from Sport England.

The cash was matched by another £50,000 generated by the 150-year-old club.

The tennis centre celebrated with an official open day yesterday at the venue, in West Avenue, Basford.

Mark Hagan, chairman of the management committee, said: "Courts one and two were in desperate need of replacing as the artificial grass had been worn away in some places, meaning the surface was uneven.

"If we had not replaced it, it would have been dangerous to play on as it would have been a tripping hazard.

"The new courts look great and we have even put in new fencing so you can see the difference straight away. It just looks like a totally new club now."

Hugh Padley, club accountant, said: "It has taken about seven years to raise the money we needed so it has been a long time coming.

"The courts look absolutely terrific now and we have used the latest surfaces available.

"The thing is we couldn't just replace the carpet of artificial grass because the surface was uneven so we had to dig around three feet to get all the foundations level again. Now, no-one can blame the courts if they have a bad game."

Club member John Plumb has played at the club for more than 40 years.

The 78-year-old, of West Avenue, said: "The new courts are absolutely superb and it's got a nice bounce that is very kind to older knees.

"The old grass was in a bad shape and there were bits coming up from it as the foundations underneath were crumbling away.

"I normally come twice a season so it's great that this has been done just in time for the new season."

Karen Burton, aged 49, of Betley, said: "The club has worked really hard to get the money and we are all really delighted.

"It is much easier to play on now and the whole place just looks a lot smarter. It is definitely money well-spent."

Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly was also at the opening.

He said: "The club looks fantastic and the new courts really make a difference to the place."

Sentinel, 08 April 2013
Courtesy of The Sentinel News & Media

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