Every two weeks Thame Hub will be featuring an article on various people in Thame who serve the Thame Community. This is your chance for the people of Thame to find out a little bit more about you or your business.
If you’d like to feature in these articles after the new year then drop us an email at email@example.com.
For our seventh instalment of the series we are talking to Mark Wilkins, from Thame Tennis Club to find out a little bit more about all things tennis in Thame.
How did you get into tennis?
My dad has always played, being a member at Thame for over 30 years. He started through his dad, so a game that has been passed down the generations!
What would be your advice to somebody looking to get into tennis for the first time?
Just give it a go! It has physical, mental and social benefits along with being fun, and for many, a new skill!
Can you give us some background on how Thame Tennis Club was set up and when it was set up
The Tennis Club along with the Bowls Club was given the land by the local council to facilitate those in Thame and the surrounding areas to play Tennis without barriers. This is something the club has built its mission statement around and remains the central drive to both the club and the coaching. We hope to provide as many people as possible with the opportunity to play the game!
What does Thame Tennis Club offer?
Both the club and coaching pride itself on there being ‘something for everyone’. On a club front, we have 4 weekly club social sessions, have over 30 teams that play in Oxfordshire and Bucks leagues throughout the year from the premier division downwards and have the only artificial clay courts in the county! From a coaching perspective we cater for both adults and juniors providing group and individual coaching ranging from Cardio Tennis (fitness based) to Tennis Xpress (6 week quick-play course) through to tots tennis.
How much is a membership to Thame Tennis Club and how much is it for a social game?
Adult membership to the club for a year works out as being £5 per week. For juniors this is around £30 for the year! Included is the use of the courts without having to book, free floodlights, and free club sessions!
The club have recently introduced ‘Pay and Play’, a scheme that enables the booking of courts for as little as £5 per hour without any membership requirement. This is a pioneering initiative with Thame being selected as one of few pilot clubs in the region.
Do you have members who play competitive matches?
The club offers many competitive opportunities in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire for Men’s, Women’s and Mixed teams to play other clubs. We also have internal tournaments and a monthly singles ladder. Matches are optional and you can get involved as much or as little as you like!
Are you still looking to get a new club house?
The Tennis along with Bowls club is currently seeking funding to rebuild our current club house. It is hoped that should funding be secured, the work will begin in October 2017.
What’s in store for the future of Thame Tennis Club?
Following a strong 2016 with the club being awarded ‘Oxfordshire Club of the Year’ and myself being given ‘Oxfordshire Coach of the Year’ and ‘Thame – Sporting Achievement Award’, the last 12 months have seen rapid progress on and off the court. We hope to extend our offering from both the club and coaching, making tennis as accessible as possible to those that wish to play at the club and in the wider community.
What’s your favourite thing about Thame?
The town has a strong sense of community. We receive support from all areas of the town and use local businesses in the voluntary running of the club.
Any final words to encourage the people of Thame to try out Thame Tennis Club?
Come down and give it a try! You can now play, without membership, from £5 per hour!
Thanks to Mark for letting us interview him, for more information on Thame Tennis Club, you can visit their website at www.thametennisclub.co.uk
Thanks also to Mark Hewitson for taking the photo for this featured article. For more information on Mark Hewitson photography, please visit his website at www.markhewitson.co.uk.
Read Mark’s behind the scenes blog in the “Portrait of Thame” series here.