Greenlaw residents give tennis court a major facelift

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BERWICKSHIRE could have a breeding ground for some future Wimbledon champions now one tennis court has had a major facelift.

Greenlaw Tennis Club are hoping for a bright future after a year of hard work making over their tennis court.

Villagers have taken the court from virtually a wasteland to the well used facility it is now.

The club was formed last year and resident Stephen McLean decided to take on the role of chairman.

He headed the clean up operation and with the first aces now served, he said the response is an overwhelming thumbs up.

Stephen commented: "There is always someone on the court, you could notice the difference immediately.

"Everyone in Greenlaw is over the moon, it's like having a new tennis court.

"The court had become little more than a wasteland and I remember it being like that for most of my life.

"We decided as a village to do something about it and the first step was to set up a committee and get a constitutuion before becoming a member of Berwickshire Sports Council."

The clean up of the court has cost in the region of 1500, but instead of looking from grants from outside sources, Steven said all of the money has come from Greenlaw itself.

"We've done all of this off our own backs by holding a number of fundraising events to get some money together.

"We held a New Year's party and had a stall at this year's Greenlaw Festival.

"The only grant we received was from the Friends of Greenlaw, so it's been a real village effort."

Giving the court a major facelift was no easy task for members of the newly formed tennis club as the court had slipped into a terrible state of disrepair.

Steven continued: "Scottish Borders Council would only cut the grass when it got really, really high and the hedges had grown to the size of trees.

"The old fencing had been there for years and trees had grown through it. The court is tucked away from the main road so was easily forgotten about.

"There was a lot of work involved to firstly clear the court and then put some new fencing up etc and maintenance is an on-going priority for the club.

"I'm still cutting the grass once a week; we've got the court in good condition and it's important that it stays that way."

The refurbished court has been a massive hit with the youngsters of Greenlaw particularly and local coach Claire Smith has seen her lessons packed out with budding Andy Murrays and Serena Williams.

And Steven said he hoped that adults will get their chance to fine tune their forehand and brush up on their backhand in the near future.

"My daughters have been going to Claire's coaching sessions and everytime I pick them up there are more and more children.

"The interest is definitely there, there are currently 12 members on the committee and the next step for us is to look at getting memberships.

"The tennis court has always been free to use for all the villagers and we'd like it to stay that way.

"The club has a lot of potential and with the children's lessons going down so well I think adult sessions are a real possibility. We welcome any donations to help keep the court.

"Now we're members of the Sports Council I hope we'll get some support from them too."

Steven said that what he and his fellow committee members have achieved should motivate other villages in a similar situation to follow suit as the outcome really is worth it.

He added: "What Greenlaw Tennis Club has achieved over the last year, shows that all small villages who have run down sites that the council no longer look at because of lack of funds and other reasons can achieve the same with a handful of strong minded people that will not sit back and watch things turn into a dump.

"But if residents want to change things they've got to put the work in themselves, the end results makes it all worthwhile. I'd like to thank all of the committee members for their hard work."

Anyone wanting further information about tennis lessons should contact Claire Smith on 07884362712.