Robbie Dunster and Luciana Killick founded the club in 1977.
Partners in the Weymouth School of Lawn Tennis, Robbie and Lou found that their pupils had no opportunity to practise their newly-found skills at any of the clubs in the town.
Public courts were hired at Radipole, initially on Saturdays, with sessions for children in the mornings and adults in the afternoon. It became extremely popular, growing to involve several nights a week with Robbie and Lou putting in their time free of charge. It became apparent that the club needed its own courts and to be run by a committee elected from its own active members.
As part of the fundraising activities there were two attempts at the ‘world tennis doubles record’. The first attempt was in 1979 when four players (Robbie Dunster, Colin Campbell, Trevor Pearce and Tim Beaglehole) played a match for 77 hours having just five minutes break every hour. When Tim became unwell the three remaining still played on with a fourth player standing in – Lou’s son Gordon Killick.
The second attempt, in May 1981, was more successful, with the organisers using their experience from the previous event. As an added attraction there were guest appearances from two Olympic champions, David Wilkie and Brian Jacks.
The teams comprising of Robbie and ‘new boy’ Alan Cash played against the partnership of Trevor and Colin, competing for a total of 86 hours. They actually won the same number of sets after all that time. They raised approximately £1200 towards the funds, and obtained a great amount of support with people popping in to see them before going to work.
The four courts that the club presently use were first surfaced in 1982 with grants, fund raising and hard work from the members, the secretarial work and grant applications being carried out by Lou.
Sadly Lou Killick, the co-founder and Robbie’s partner, died of cancer in 1987. Many of the children she inspired are now bringing their children to the club – she would be proud and happy about that.
Until 2001 the club offered free group coaching to all members as part of the subscription. Perhaps on reflection that coaching money could have been invested in a clubhouse, as we were only able to have one installed in 2001 in the form of a port-a-cabin.
Christmas 2003 saw the club investing in floodlights, thanks to an LTA grant and loan. The public pavilion that had become an eyesore for so long was dismantled and largely rebuilt by present and former members in the form of the clubhouse still standing today.
In 2004 more fundraising and further assistance from the LTA and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council meant that water and sewage facilities could be brought to the site. The central area between the club and the public courts has also been leased from W&PBC and fenced off to help with security, and provide an area for social activities.
Robbie, sadly lost his own battle with illness in late 2017, active right up to a few weeks before his death and jovial with his unwavering sense of humour and positivity.
In memory of his legacy, we hold a ‘fun social tournament’ every summer and a permanent plaque is sited on the outside of the clubhouse in his memory and appreciated by the numerous players that he introduced to the game.