Hunstanton Lifestyles Festival organiser takes up role at the Lawn Tennis Association

He helped to organise Hunstanton Lifestyles Festivals for almost seven years but now Tony Devenish is hoping to get more people in West Norfolk playing tennis.

His passion and determination for the festival helped it to quickly become one of the country's biggest extreme sports festival after its launch in 2005.

But now he has started his new as the Lawn Tennis Association's community tennis project manager for West Norfolk.

His final day as West Norfolk council's sports development officer and his official involvement in Lifestyles was last Wednesday – the same day this year's festival was launched.

Mr Devenish said: 'Lifestyles has been such a great event to be involved with over the years. From its launch to 2005 to what it has become today is just unbelievable. For the first Lifestyles, it was a one day event in September with a small skate park, a band on the back of a lorry and we probably had a couple of hundreds people come along.

'Now it's a three day event which attracts thousands from across the country and we have the national kitesurfing championships here as well. Each year it has just got bigger and bigger and there really is a buzz about Lifestyles all year round. It also showcases Hunstanton as a year-round facility for water sports.'

Lifestyles Festival will blow into Hunstanton on Friday, June 1 and see people pack the resort for three days to enjoy watching an array of extreme sports talent as well as having a go at activities including skateboarding, inline skating and climbing.

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Tony continued: 'I am tremendously proud of what we have achieved. It's now such a big event for this region and I am proud of what it has done for Hunstanton. Lots of people feel some sort of ownership over Lifestyles and rightly so because there are so many people who put in a lot of effort to make it happen every year.

'It does feel weird to be leaving but I am still going to come along to Lifestyles and soak up the atmosphere.'

He continued: 'My role at the LTA is all about getting more people playing tennis at grassroot level and encouraging those who play casually to perhaps join a club.

'This project by the LTA is one of only eight across the country and the fact I am going to tennis is going to be a challenge because it's probably the second biggest sport in the country after football.

'But it is a great opportunity for me and I'm really looking forward to it.'

This year's Lifestyles will include the usual mix of high-adrenaline activities such as skateboarding, kitesurfing, windsurfing, climbing and inline skating, alongside street dance, stalls and stands and the classic VW show on The Green as well as local bands.

The will also be a full programme of have-a-go sessions for local schools on Friday, June 1, then competitions, demonstrations and public session throughout the Saturday and Sunday, including round two of the British Kite Surfing Association National Freestyle Competition and an opening windsurfing competition organised by Quayside Windsurfers.

Elizabeth Nockolds, West Norfolk council cabinet member, said: 'This event began as a sports event, designed to encourage people to get involved in non-mainstream sports and to provide people with an opportunity to have a go at something they might not otherwise get the chance to try.

'The event has grown over the years to incorporate other activities including dance and music and whilst we are keen to continue those additional activities, this year we are making a small charge for entry to the music events to help off-set the cost of putting them on.

'We really hope that people will understand the need for this charge and will continue to support this popular event.'

The event is sponsored by Veolia Environmental Services, Hunstanton Watersports and Downham Market-based Lingo Design, with funding from Mars in the Community, Flux Family Fund and West Norfolk Council.

For more information about the event, including the full music line-up and details about how to book campsites, will be published over the coming weeks on the Lifestyles website www.lifestylesfestival.co.uk.

There will also be regular updates on Twitter @lifestylesFest and Facebook www.facebook.com/lifestylesfestival.

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