National tennis chief on hand to celebrate Norfolk success

LTA chief executive attended the Norfolk LTA annual general meeting, hosting an open forum and givin

LTA chief executive attended the Norfolk LTA annual general meeting, hosting an open forum and giving out annual awards. Picture: Steve Howlett - Credit: Steve Howlett

Chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) Michael Downey was on hand to hand out the 2016 Norfolk tennis awards.

The chief of the national governing body attended the Norfolk LTA's annual general meeting, leading an open forum at Easton & Otley College and presenting awards to this year's winners.

Downey was accompanied by John Golding, the head of region for the LTA field team in the east of England, but rain and wind curtailed a planned visit to the Eaton Park community courts in Norwich.

Instead they made a quick stop at East Anglia Tennis & Squash club, in Lime Tree Road, Norwich, and met some of the coaching team and head coach Derek Perry.

They also met tennis manager Matt Breese and had a whirlwind tour of the Easton Tennis Centre facilities, which were opened over five years ago by Judy Murray following major investment by the LTA, Norfolk LTA and Easton and Otley College.

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Downey said of his visit: 'It was an honour for me to not only attend but participate in the Norfolk AGM.

'I received excellent feedback on the BTM (British Tennis Membership) proposal that will be taken into consideration. The visit to Norwich was well worth the travel time!'

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The open forum was attended by over 50 people from all corners of Norfolk and many different parts of the tennis community. The main topic was the background to and consultation on potential changes to the British Tennis Membership scheme.

A charge may be brought in for some of the benefits with the proceeds used to support further measures to increase participation in tennis – the LTA's overall mission.

Downey's presentation was followed by a lively question and answer session, with the feedback received to be added to feedback from other sessions which are being held all over the country.

He then presented the inaugural Aegon British Tennis Awards to the worthy recipients, before being presented with a copy of Jeremy Cameron's book, How to be President (of Norfolk Lawn Tennis Association), as a thank you for coming.

However, the final British Tennis Award, for volunteer of the year, was presented by Jean Harris, the widow of Jolyon Harris, a great supporter of tennis in Norfolk and GB across 50 years, who passed away in April 2015. The award is given under Jolyon's name, so it was fitting that its first award could be made by Jean, accompanied by son Nick.

The evening concluded with the AGM of Norfolk LTA, at which honorary life memberships were bestowed on Sue Bradley-Watson and Mike Huggins for their many years of dedicated volunteer service to tennis in the county.

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