Lifetime Achievement Award 2020
Paul has made an exceptional contribution to his tennis club(s) or community for more than 30 years
Initially, Paul joined Carisbrooke over 40 years ago to play tennis and he has done ever since, playing in Summer, Winter, Mixed Leagues, often as team captain. He loves competing – injuries allowing!
Paul still plays for the County Vets Team, winning the National Over 70s title twice in recent years.
Off court Paul has been exceptional. He finally retired from the management committee in 2020. He has held the posts of: Director, Chairman, Committee Member, Grounds Manager, Bar Manager, Team Captain.
At Carisbrooke, Paul, in his time, has fixed nearly everything at the club – leaking roofs, cleaning out gutters, clearing blocked drains, liaising with Leicester City Council over tree preservation orders. The list is endless. Paul is completely “hands on”, involved in every aspect of the club for 40+ years – both on and off the court. Paul enjoys the social side of tennis and for years he was Carisbrooke’s bar manager. He even organised club skiing trips during the 1980s.
He was a key driving force behind two major Carisbrooke developments - namely, Carisbrooke’s first set of floodlights (late 1970s) and the purchase of an Air Dome (1992).
Paul, a skilled electrician, carried out the installation of Carisbrooke’s floodlights in the late 1970s. Three grass courts were being replaced so Paul laid down cables at the same time and organised holes to be dug for the future floodlight posts. The floodlights served Carisbrooke till 2003. Paul then arranged for their replacements which stand to this day, again maintained and overseen by Paul.
Paul opened up tennis to enable more people to play and enjoy tennis
In 1992 Carisbrooke took the decision to purchase an Air Dome so that members, and non-members, could play indoors throughout the winter months. This is a major task for any volunteer-run tennis club to manage. However, Paul took on the huge responsibility of managing and maintenance. He taught himself the considerable technical aspects and, in so doing, has saved the club thousands of pounds over the years. Due to his expertise the Dome outlasted its guarantee by many years, lasting 24 years. Every year Paul organises teams of volunteers to erect and take down the Dome.
The Dome has enabled many hundreds of Carisbrooke players, and non-members, to play indoor tennis during the winter months. From the outset players from other clubs were invited to use the Dome – once the only indoor facility in Leicester. In the past it has been used for Leicestershire County training squads. Tennis in the county has benefited greatly from Paul’s expertise.
Many indoor LTA junior tennis tournaments are held every winter, benefitting many juniors in Leicestershire.
Paul has shown excellent teamwork or leadership
In 2013 Paul was Chair when a new Head Coach, Jack Simpson, was appointed. Paul and the committee realised this was a great opportunity for the club to re-establish itself. Paul immediately ensured Jack had his full support. Membership grew almost straightaway, coaching programmes improved and Paul ensured that Jack and the committee worked together smoothly to make the club successful.
In 2015 Paul was Chair and supported a sub-committee who prepared an LTA funding application for a new Air Dome. This was a hugely expensive project for the club. The committee knew Paul had the expertise to lead meetings with the Dome manufacturers, ensuring quality, and in 2016 a new Dome was successfully erected. Again, Paul took on the responsibility of looking after it.
Paul is always involved in the club’s big expenditure capital projects, especially new courts, ensuring that the jobs are accurately costed and then ensuring that the work is carried out to a high standard.
Paul has shown consideration of diversity, inclusion and safeguarding and has shown an open mind-set and a willingness to adapt as tennis has changed
When Paul was Chair (2013-15) the club became more focussed. A draft Business Plan and Action Plans were drawn up in 2015 in preparation for an LTA loan/grant application for a new Air Dome. Key identified targets were: our local community, more creative Open Days, our local schools and, especially, how to involve more juniors at Carisbrooke. Hard work paid off. Since 2013 club membership has more than doubled.
Paul was keen to see the junior coaching programme expand, especially mini-tennis. As Grounds Manager for many years, Paul understood the importance of always upgrading the facilities, especially the courts. In 2014 he met with the Head Coach to produce plans to convert an old court into 4 mini-tennis courts. Paul then worked with the contractors to ensure that high quality courts were laid down. Today much of the club’s highly-rated junior coaching programme takes place on these courts.
The last major work Paul helped bring about was the laying down of 3 new artificial clay courts earlier this year, ensuring that the club continues to adapt and improve. He will always be part of Carisbrooke - there could not be a more worthy winner of this award.