Henfield Tennis Club’s ace new pavilion has been heralded as the missing part of their jigsaw.
Celebrities and club members congregated at the Northcroft Road club on Saturday as the ribbon was cut to officially open their new building.
West Sussex MP Nick Herbert and celebrated local crime author Peter James cut the tape to open the doors of the pavilion for the first time.
VIP guests included president of Sussex Tennis Nick Greenwood, chairman of Henfield Parish Council Ray Osgood and Horsham councillor Brian O’Connell.
Many people also took to the courts, with some amazingly talented players - from three years old upwards - displaying their skills.
The new pavilion replaces the old tennis hut and provides a superb new facility for both the players and spectators.
The project received a grant of £50,000 from Sports England and additional funding was provided from Horsham District Council’s planning gain funds and the club’s own fundraising.
Club chairman Digby Stephenson welcomed the 100 plus guests and pointed out the pavilion isn’t quite finished yet.
He said: “ I am proud to be a part of the team of members that had delivered the new facility, which had long been a missing feature from the club.
“The pavilion has been made possible by a grant from Sport England, with additional money obtained from Horsham District Council’s planning gain funds and club savings, as well as tireless contributions by club members and friends.
“Henfield Tennis Club was formed in 1920, and our facilities and coaching standards have been improved over the years so that now we have four floodlit courts, and a thriving LTA-approved coaching staff and programme.
“The missing piece of the jigsaw was always the pavilion, and now our shed has been replaced by a facility in which we can all take great pride.”
Junior tennis, led by coaches Joerg Schluter and Keith Brown, saw parents and children having a great time using the soft balls and low nets.
Then, in a David and Goliath competition, 12-year-old Otto Schluter took on reigning club champion Simon Faires in the semi-final of this year’s singles competition.
Schluter won the first set with some extraordinary tennis before being overcome by Faires in a final set tie-break.
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