Published: 07:06, 19 July 2021
| Updated: 07:09, 19 July 2021
There were Kent success stories in the LTA National Tennis Awards which were broadcast live on YouTube.
The Kent LTA hailed the “incredible achievement” of Deal Parochial Primary and Sundridge Park, who were named runners-up in the school of the year and club of the year categories respectively.
The awards were presented by Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leon Smith for the third successive year.
“This is an incredible achievement for the runners-up,” said the Kent LTA. “Their hard work and contribution towards tennis have stood out among over 2,600 nominations, which are beyond exceptional.”
A strong link with Deal Indoor Tennis Central is integral to Deal’s year-round tennis programme.
But when the centre was closed for several months during lockdown, the school compensated by providing tennis videos through the school website, including a link to the LTA’s Home Activities hub.
Following a partial school return, pupils received weekly tennis lessons to promote a sense of normality and physical and mental well-being. And with everyone back, they beat the bad weather by holding science lessons on tennis-related topics, such as backspin.
The school also assisted Sholden Primary in their Tennis Foundation membership and signposted them to LTA teacher tennis training.
This was Deal’s second national runner-up award, following Kent and regional recognition.
Sundridge Park saw adult membership increase by 36 per cent after introducing a pay and play scheme.
They also appointed a full-time manager which led to an increase in the club’s operating surplus.
Community spirit was demonstrated during the pandemic with a number of initiatives to support members, while planning permission was secured for two padel courts - the first in Kent - with LTA funding, and these opened in April.
Two other Kent LTA winners were shortlisted.
Old Wilsonians were up in the competition of the year category, for Jack Petchey’s 21st Birthday Celebration Series. And Katie-Ann Rust, of Bridge Tennis Club and Bromley Tennis Centre, featured in the young person of the year section.