Mix in and drinks in memory of Grace Chorley Sun 24 Sep 1430

As you know Grace Chorley sadly passed away earlier this month.   We will be holding an event in her honour, to share happy memories and celebrate her unique contribution to our club over many years. 

On Sunday 24th September, from 2.30pm, an all standards tennis mix-in followed by drinks and snacks in the bar.  

All welcome - you don't have to play tennis - come to the bar (from 4ish) -   Grace would have been happy to just to see you there, drink in hand and the place buzzing! 

RSVP if possible to Susie on info@dulwichtennis.com so we can cater.  The committee will also be considering a more permanent memorial to Grace, to recognise her amazing commitment to and love of, the club.  We have some ideas, such as a bench, and naming the Ladies Singles Tournament Trophy after her - but if you have any suggestions we would be happy to consider them.  Just let us know.   

Below you will find a lovely tribute to Grace written by fellow longstanding member and friend Adrian Frisby:   

Grace, an appropriate name if ever there was, had the interests of Dulwich Tennis Club at heart and was undoubtedly the very heart of the Club throughout her long, and distinguished, membership.

She joined the Club in, or about, the early 1960 s at a time when it was enjoying unparalleled success. This culminated in winning the National Club Championship in 1972  and again in the following year. Fortunes of sporting clubs however ebb and flow and it is arguable that her greatest contribution came within the next decade. Not only were the finances of the Sports Club as a whole in a parlous state but more particularly the Club itself was in very poor health. Playing standards overall had dropped, drastically, and membership had haemorrhaged. Throughout this long and difficult period Grace refused to give up her vision for, and love of, the Club. I can recall Saturday after Saturday Grace sitting on the cricket outfield waiting for members to turn up to play. By her very presence she encouraged them and at the same time welcomed new members. She was a shining example to us all and slowly the fortunes of our Club improved to the extent that now we have a waiting list. Much of this is directly attributable to her. She must have been very proud that the reputation we now enjoy with new members is how friendly a club we are.

On the court Grace's style of play was, shall we say, distinctive. Rallies were often punctuated in doubles with a late, very late, call of "yours". Without any question her greatest triumph was winning the Club's Mixed Doubles in 1999 with Rashid.  Her joy was matched by us all.

My friendship with Grace really started after 1966 when Evelyn joined the Club. They had a common interest in theatre, which they visited together, and I had an interest in Evelyn. Grace's love of theatre continued throughout her life and she was still, with considerable difficulty but typical determination, visiting even in the last 12 months of her life.

She had great taste in everything. She was always very fashionable but at the same time appropriately dressed  and her taste in decor was minimalist. It was therefore to Grace that we turned for guidance when we bought our first home in 1972. She came to the house, had a quick look round  and declared all walls should/were to be  painted white. Her instructions were dutifully carried out and again later in our current home to the present day. White was her favourite colour even down to her bed and  in the last few months of her life  she was not best pleased when a hospital bed was installed, painted brown.

Her advice to us on decor was brisk in the extreme and  matched by her telephone manner. A call barely lasted more than 60 seconds and went along the lines of " It's Grace.  Could you please do (whatever the request happened to be)?"  You replied in the affirmative and she finished the conversation "Thank you".  End of; the line went dead.

Her early working life  included Unilever where she made friends with a number of  like- minded theatre lovers and these friendships lasted right to the very end. Typical was one of these friends who came from Australia to visit her just before she died. Later she worked for a photographic studio and, finally,  ran The Association of Model Agents which one could be sure needed someone with Grace's organisational abIlities. She was still working in her late eighties.

Her New Year's Eve parties were always a joy to attend. These started 40 or so years ago and continued without interruption  first at her  home in Ardbeg Road and later in Fawnbrake Avenue, with the odd one or two, in the early days, in Knightsbridge. This was  where Grace looked after the house belonging to a friend and her husband when they were away. He, interestingly, was a film production designer who came to fame on the early Bond films and was later knighted. One guest told me recently he can recall an Oscar by the front door and I can recall seeing furnishings in the house from Bond sets

She was Chairman of the Club for many years and only relinquished that role as recently as last year on becoming  Honorary Chair.  She richly deserved to be made a Life Member of the Sports Club in 1999 and the subsequent  award in 2014  from Surrey LTA to recognise  her contribution to Club tennis.

Nobody has enjoyed the social side of the Club more than Grace . She was never heard to reject a glass of wine solely on the grounds it was too early in the day, or indeed on any grounds. When we all meet to celebrate her life it will be a fitting way for us  to remember her. We can be sure she will be with us  in spirit. She would be delighted to know her memory lives on.

I said at the Club party last year to celebrate her 90th birthday that she was the perfect examplar of the maxim the more you give in this life the more you receive. She had many wonderful friends at the Club who cared for her immensely. Their love and affection were never better demonstrated than by the unstinting kindness of a number of members who cared for her in recent months. I should like to thank them for all they did which we know Grace would have appreciated. Typically she bore her illness with  characteristic fortitude.

Grace was Grace and will not be replaced. She was most particularly generous of spirit with a great sense of humour. The Club is privileged to have known her for over 50 years and I am privileged to write this tribute. It is impossible to put her into any words which will truly reflect the wonderful human being she was and great friend to us all.  All that can be said is that Grace loved life and we loved Grace.   Adrian