A CAMPAIGN has been launched to save Saddleworth Tennis Club and prevent it going out of existence this year.
There is a grave danger the tennis club, which was formed in 1886, will fold due to lack of funding and the deteriorating state of the courts.
Loans and donations, as well as new players, are being sought to keep open the Calf Lane club, which is a member of both the Oldham and Manchester Tennis Leagues.
Part of Saddleworth Cricket, Tennis and Bowling Club, it provides people from a catchment area including Saddleworth, Ashton Hurst, Stalybridge and Shaw with an opportunity to play tennis throughout the year, with free use for schools and sporting organisations.
The club has three all-weather tarmacadam courts which were laid 27 years ago and, despite ongoing work to clean and repair the surfaces, they have reached a stage of being virtually unplayable.
The club has agreed to keep going for one more season to see if finance for replacement courts can be found, with the cheapest cost around £25,000.
Despite the poor playing surfaces, the club has an association with a number of coaches, currently Sean Stafford who is SPC LTA accredited level 4 qualified, provides junior coaching and regular weekly group and individual sessions.
The courts have been very beneficial to Saddleworth School, with PE teacher Richard Meadowcroft stating for pupils playing tennis “it can be seen as a large step towards helping them growing up and maturing to help the community where they live”.
The courts have also been used for more than 20 years for the Saddleworth Village Olympics and tennis organiser Angela Clark called the club “fundamental” to the success of the event.
She added: “Providing junior coaching during the year, the club gives children the confidence to enter the contest. If the club folds, it would be very difficult to keep the tennis event going.”
If this is successful it will enable the club to become more accessible, expand its junior and adult coaching programme and attract new members to play both social and team tennis.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the club should make out a cheque payable to “Saddleworth Tennis Club” and send it to Neil Gaskell, Saddleworth Tennis Club Treasurer, 8 Thornley Rise, Audenshaw, M34 5JX.
If you wish to support the campaign and help with the LTA loan application please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org titled “I support Saddleworth Tennis Club”.