HISTORY

Worplesdon Tennis Club was the brainchild of enthusiastic tennis player and local parish councillor John Self who in late 1990 contacted Mary Broughton with a view to discussing the setting up of a tennis club in Worplesdon and the wish to create a sporting opportunity to local residents. They quickly realised the need for another person to assist them and John duly recruited Sue Osborne who had recently moved into the area and who they knew could not only play tennis but also possessed beneficial secretarial skills.  A meeting soon took place with Mary as Chairperson, Sue as Secretary and John as Treasurer with 27 local residents attending and the club was born.  It was initially named WTA (Worplesdon Tennis Association with the specific intention of avoiding a 'club' elitist image) and it was considered a sensible idea in order to portray a friendly village club which was to be accessible to all.

    Play initially took place on the then poorly-surfaced public courts (courts 1 and 2) run by the Parish Council, on Monday mornings, Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings and it was not uncommon for participants to enjoy impromptu competitions and courtside picnics.  The first membership year commenced on 1st May 1991.

    An approach was made to Normandy Tennis Club's coach (Alan Kenyon) to provide lessons for our members and this aided the formation of a Junior Section within the club in 1993.  Alan sadly died in 1995 and his young doubles tennis partner Tim Seymour, officially became our coach.

     Summer of 1994 saw the club join the Aldershot and District Summer League and its Winter league the following year and the club has achieved much success.

   In 1996, the generosity of the National Lottery allowed the club to build a small wooden clubhouse (a basic shelter) to primarily house the electric controls for the recently installed floodlights on the two courts. 

   The club was rapidly developing and in 2000 it was realised that the club would be unable to expand with access to only two courts and there was a feeling that members may be lost to other clubs with more courts and facilities.   A committee was formed with the then Chairman Derek Langridge, Peter Elsing, Ken Smith, Sarah Hamilton and Mary Broughton to explore the feasibility of constructing two new courts.  Derek drew the plans, Ken advised on various aspects of legal matters with which he was familiar, Sarah generally assisted with the process and also kept the minutes and Mary became Club Development Officer with the responsibility of obtaining grants, liaising with the trustees who owned the land we wished to use and organising the lease (after endless meetings with parties involved) of the chosen piece of land.  Much fundraising work was then done by the committee, ably assisted by Sue Osborne who, in addition to her secretarial responsibilities, was also the Junior Co-ordinator.

  The Club became Worplesdon Tennis Club in 2001.  After all the hard work, Courts 3 and 4 were finally completed and opened in April 2005 complete with floodlights with a new clubhouse(the current one) being constructed at the same time.   

   On the opening of the new courts and clubhouse, we were honoured with an exhibition match by Mark Cox and Peter Norfolk, who was, at that time, the reigning British Wheelchair Champion.   We never forgot the slogan ' Sport For All' and we subsequently attracted two wheelchair tennis players to our membership and it is pleasing to see that one of them, Lucy Dodd, remains a member of the club.

  In 2007 Ray Partridge was asked to take over as Chairman. In 2009 the club obtained the LTA Clubmark Accreditation, thanks to the efforts of Mary, Sue and Tim. This remains the standard of the day and without it the club would be unable to be classified as an LTA club.  Charity involvement remains part of our ethos and several events have been organised by Mary Broughton to benefit GUTS (Guildford Undetected Tumour Screening).   These events raised considerable funds for the charity and our versions of 'theatre' were enjoyed by the surgeons and other medical staff of our local Royal Surrey County Hospital.

In 2015 we participated in a fund raising 24 hour tennis marathon organised by Bright Ideas for Tennis, run by Danny Sapsford a former Davis Cup player. The event saw members being coached by Greg Rusedski at the National Tennis Centre, Roehampton and funded the patio and clubhouse improvements. Whilst funding other improvements such as the ball machine, the club also continued to steadily build its financial reserves under treasurers Peter Elsing then Simon Laffin.

    Although now having our own courts (Courts 3 and 4), we agreed a block booking payment with the Parish Council for the use of Courts 1 and 2 during our busy club sessions.  In 2019 the Parish Council decided to hand Courts 1 and 2 to the trustees of Worplesdon Memorial Hall and Recreation Grounds (WMHRG CIO). Based on our sound financial strength, we successfully lobbied to be offered the opportunity to assume control of these courts. On 14th April 2021 and following protracted work by our then Chairman Ray Partridge and then treasurer Simon Laffin, our new chairman Sam Pake, signed a formal agreement to effectively become a four-court club.