Refurbished courts are looking ace

Pippa Hawes from Morpeth Tennis Club Community Tennis Project and Northumberland County Council officer Mike Jeffrey with youngster Sophia Beattie.
Pippa Hawes from Morpeth Tennis Club Community Tennis Project and Northumberland County Council officer Mike Jeffrey with youngster Sophia Beattie.
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Organisations have come together to serve up improvements to tennis courts in Morpeth.

The resurfacing works at the Carlisle Park facilities, along with new nets and straps and other equipment, is thanks to the partnership working between Morpeth Tennis Club, 1Life Riverside Leisure Centre, Active Northumberland and Northumberland County Council.

The four outdoor courts now have better drainage, which means they are playable for most of the year.

Pippa Hawes of Morpeth Tennis Club, who spearheads its Community Tennis Project, has been the driving force in securing the funding. She had a vision of providing an extensive range of coaching sessions and improving the courts for pay and play customers.

“The tennis courts at Carlisle Park were not fit for purpose and I had a meeting with the county council and 1Life Riverside Leisure Centre last November,” she said.

“We all agreed that improvements need to be made and I’m pleased that all parties quickly agreed to allocate some funds for the project.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback from residents about the resurfaced courts. It will be in slow steps, but I believe this investment will lead to more people in the Morpeth area playing tennis.

“Tennis is easy to play, immensely fun and a great way to improve your psychological and physical health.

“By encouraging people to play on a community facility rather than having to join a club immediately, we hope to encourage players young and older to take up the sport.

“Coaches from Morpeth Tennis Club will deliver a variety of sessions and tournaments to suit everyone.”

The training programmes at the courts include over 50s beginners and over 50s rusties and improvers with Grant Watson, adult beginners and improvers with Mariana Warwick and mixed juniors (ages nine to 12) with Pippa Hawes.

Val Tyler, the county council’s policy board member for community infrastructure and culture, was among those who attended the grand opening of the refurbished Carlisle Park facilities on Saturday.

She said: “Playing tennis is recognised as a strong cardiovascular activity and can help to improve your general health.

“I am sure that these improvement works will increase the use of the courts.”

For more information about the coaching sessions, as well as bookings for pay and play, call the Riverside Leisure Centre on 01670 514665.