East Kilbride Lawn Tennis Club
East Kilbride Lawn Tennis Club (ekltc) is a tennis club located at Calderglen Country Park in
East Kilbride, Scotland, United Kingdom. It caters to all ages at all levels.
On Tuesday the 8th August 1967 an informal meeting was held in a local factory canteen to inaugurate a tennis club in the town. There were eighteen people at this meeting.This club would form the tennis section of the East Kilbride Sports Club, which had held its’ inaugural meeting one month previously. This latter composite club would have cricket, archery, tennis and hockey sections – in fact similar to the Cartha Club in Glasgow. This achievement was largely due to the negotiations and hard work of Dr. Hugh Fletcher.
The tennis club functioned by interim committee until it was formally constituted at the first Annual General Meeting on Tuesday the 28th January 1969. In the intervening period fund-raising was by sale of waste paper to a local processing firm.Affiliation to the West of Scotland Lawn Tennis Association had been made in 1968 for the season 1969, when the club entered one gents team, one ladies team and a junior team in the league competitions.
The first two Tennisquick courts were not ready until 1969, so all matches in the first season were played away from home and match practice was held on hired municipal courts in Rutherglen. By the spring of 1970 the parent East Kilbride Sports Club pavilion was completed adjacent to the four porous concrete courts. This pavilion gave members changing facilities, showers, toilet, cloakrooms, a licensed function hall as well as two lounges and a kitchen.In the first two seasons the gents team went from the 11th Division, via a modified set-up, to the 3rd Division. During this time, they lost only one league game and also won the Junior Calcutta Cup in 1971. This cup success was repeated by the gents 2nd team in 1977. Meanwhile, the ladies team remained in Division 5.
In 1974 four young members (R Gibson, M McDougall, B Houston & J Morrison) played doubles for 45 hours continuously to establish a record. This was recognised in the 21st edition of the Guinness Book of Records. The sponsorship money raised by this feat went a long way towards the cost of floodlighting two courts in 1976.
In 1975 the club’s founder President, Harry Faichney died just before he had the opportunity to see the completion of the floodlighting project, which had been his vision and venture. His widow May, was invited to be the first to switch the lights on.
By 1978, the club was running three gents teams, two ladies teams & two junior teams.
In 1979, the ladies were in Division 3 and the gents in Division 2. The mixed doubles team won the 2nd Division Clydesdale Cup. Further success came in this year, with the gents 1st team winning the Senior Calcutta Cup.
By 1983, the gents 1st team had reached Division 1 and the ladies consolidated their position in Division 3. The club membership reached almost 300, with a third of this number being juniors.Having list a few of their original team in 1984, the gents 1st team slipped into Division 2. However in 1985, the juniors achieved Division 1 status, with two of the juniors having a national ranking for their age group.
By the end of the 1980’s the club membership had settled at around 150, but juniors were consistently attracted to joining the club.
The 1990’s was a defining decade for the club. Despite having two ladies teams and two gents teams competing in the League, towards the end of the 90’s, membership had fallen to an all time low of less than 50. The courts were over 20 years old and in some disrepair, which made attracting new members almost impossible. The committee realised that the only hope for the club was to apply to the Lottery for funding to the replace the courts.
Writing applications, securing advertising and sponsorship as well as organising fund-raising events was undertaken by a small team co-ordinated by Susan Weanie (President) and Jane Lees (Secretary). With mainly Lottery and a loan form the LTA, four all weather artificial grass (two floodlit) were officially opened in 1999.
In recognition of this achievement, East Kilbride won both the West of Scotland and the National Club of the Year awards in 2001. Membership has steadily increased and coaching programmes and tennis for all levels is now available to everyone who is interested in the game. Close links have been established with schools in East Kilbride and the club has regularly hosted events with a local disability group.
* [http://www.ektennisclub.co.uk Official Homepage]
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