Tennis club's delight at being named best in Norfolk

James Buddell after he was awarded Norfolk LTA Volunteer Award

James Buddell (centre, with shield) and volunteers at North Elmham tennis club after he was awarded Norfolk LTA Volunteer Award - Credit: James Buddell

A Norfolk sports club has proved to be a grand slam - as they are awarded tennis club of the year.

The North Elmham Tennis Club were given the title by Norfolk Lawn Tennis Association in April. The club, which opened back in 2002 is currently closed as its surface is re-laid for the first time in 20 years, will be presented the award on June 11.

Chairman James Buddell has been in the role since September 2018.

North Elmham Tennis Club welcomed back players. 

North Elmham Tennis Club players. - Credit: James Buddell

Mr Buddell joined the previous year with his wife and young family, quickly becoming a committee member - last year he was presented with the Jolyon Harris Award for Norfolk Tennis Volunteer of the Year.

He was delighted for the club to be awarded the title: “It feels great to be named tennis club of the year, as it's a recognition for all the hard work by the volunteers, captains and members, who make it such a nice place to play tennis.

“I am particularly pleased for the committee, who have all helped to build a thriving club.”

The women from the North Elmham tennis club.

The women from the North Elmham tennis club. - Credit: James Buddell

The chairman has been involved with the sport for over 30 years, having previously worked as chairman of an 18-court club in Kent.

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His focus since taking over has been drawing on the experience of his committee, many of which have been there from the start, to formulate a plan.

From there, they have rebuilt the membership, installed new lights, and restructured the club, offering free annual membership to children aged 11 and under to open up the sport to new participants.

The LED lights were installed at the North Elmham tennis club. 

The LED lights were installed at the North Elmham tennis club. - Credit: James Buddell

Despite being closed since March, the club has kept going by holding junior coaching and adult social play on the courts opposite Dereham Leisure Centre.

Mr Buddell expects to re-open to its 150 plus members in the second week of May.

“We'd like to continue to grow our membership and in 2022 expand our disability tennis coaching reach within the local area," he added.

When they are presented the award on June 11, they will be holding an open day with free coaching for juniors and adults, followed by an adult's tournament, barbeque social and awards presentation.

More information about membership, coaching and how to get involved can be found at https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/NorthElmhamTC