Long-serving Lancaster tennis club marks 100-year milestone

One of Lancaster's oldest sports clubs celebrated its centenary by serving up a special treat for members past and present.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 12:30 pm

Members of Bowerham Lawn Tennis Club gathered one sunny Saturday to enjoy tennis, Prosecco and delicious afternoon tea to mark the impressive 100-year birthday.

The milestone anniversary celebrations began with an American-style tournament led by Fiona Duffy, this year’s club captain

She said: "We had over two hours of enjoyable, but also competitive tennis. Sue Greenwood, one of our most long-standing members, led the leaderboard at the end of play, with Simon Preston, last year’s captain as the runner-up by a very close margin. Congratulations to all who played!"

Members past and present attend the centenary celebrations

Later that afternoon the club welcomed their VIP guests, amongst them were former club members, Mike Derham, Marian Parker and Paul Woodhouse, who brought with him a much-treasured cup from when he played at Wimbledon as a junior. Along with speeches from chairmen of the committee, Tom Dellow and captain, Fiona Duffy, the three VIP guests shared

with everyone all some fond reflections of their times at Bowerham Lawn Tennis Club.

"We were absolutely delighted that Ernie Parker, our most senior former member present, aged 101 (being a little older than the club itself!), was amongst the many others joining us to mark this special 100th anniversary of the club," explained Fiona,

"There was much planning and preparation for this special day with many members contributing many hours of their time; cleaning the clubhouse, sweeping the courts, tidying the grounds, stocking the bar, preparing sandwiches and cake, erecting gazebos and for helping to clear up at the end of the day….. the list goes on! Special mentions must go to committee

Serving up a treat to mark the milestone

members Chris Adams (president), Tom Dellow, Sally Ferguson, Trevor Mong, Michelle Noden and Dorothy Rowley for their part in making the day a very special one. Chris generously donated Processo for all, and Chas Jacobs, member, donated a wonderful print of the Lancaster Castle for the raffle prizes."

Bowerham Lawn Tennis Club is perfectly situated in Barton Road, Lancaster. A friendly club, it always welcomes new members of any standard and ability.

Sue Greenwood, who has been a club member for over four decades, shares some of her fondest memories. She said: "I joined BLTC in 1977, the year Mike Davies was captain, but my memories of the club go further back to the early sixties when I was a schoolgirl. As a member I have enjoyed over 40 years of good tennis, lasting friendships, a great (sometimes raucous) social life, and hold lasting memories of many great times. When I was first asked to be captain in 1988, I fell pregnant with my daughter Sophie, and caused some consternation when I breastfed her in a corner of the clubhouse during tournaments. I was asked to be captain again several years later and can recall Mama Mia Captain’s Night, when four of us did a dressed-up dance routine to some of the best songs from the film!

"Bowerham was always regarded as the best tennis club in the area…..still is in my view. I cherish many memories collected over the years, not all of which are for public consumption!"

Members enjoy the afternoon tea as part of the birthday celebrations

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the club had to close its doors. However, since reopening the clubhouse has undergone a major refubishment programme now boasting a modern appearance. Fiona went onto thank everyone, especially local tradespeople, who supported the project. She added: "The club has had some challenging times throughout the pandemic having to close its doors for many months, but we are back stronger than ever, welcoming many new members. This summer. John Varney, club coach has been running summer camps for the juniors and providing coaching on a Friday after school. He has been busy with sessions for individuals and is also holding regular adult beginners’ classes at weekends. John is an absolute asset to the club, his work ethic and flexibility is second to none!’

"We have in recent years had our four courts resurfaced with a durable all weather 'carpet court', fantastic to play on, and we have the benefit of floodlights so play is still possible well into the evening at any time of year."

Bowerham is involved in several mens and womens local leagues, competing against other local tennis clubs. This season being a little different with covid restrictions in place, saw the leagues being played out on a more informal basis. However, it achieved some very worthy results, including top places in the Lancaster, Morecambe and District Tennis Mixed League (Division 1), Kendal Men’s League (Division 3) and Men’s Fylde League (Divisions 2 and 7). In addition, both adult and junior members play in county teams.

New members are always welcome. Anyone wishing to join is asked to contact the club on 01524 35521.

Club caption Fiona Duffy
Sue Greenwood shares fond memories of the club