Lesley’s passion for tennis is rewarded
A VOLUNTEER’S enthusiasm, passion and effort supporting tennis in the Downend area has been recognised with an award.
Lesley St Leger, of Downend and Frenchay Tennis Club, has been named the Volunteer of the Year by Avon Tennis – one of a number of local heroes honoured as part of the British Tennis Awards.
The award is presented to a volunteer who has made a significant impact, helping more people to get involved with the sport as players, coaches or supporters, and has shown excellent teamwork skills.
Lesley was recognised for her work in all areas of the game, from leading her club’s She Rallies initiative to involve more women and girls in the sport to recycling old balls which can no longer be used.
Her work on the She Rallies project saw almost 100 more people who had never been to the club before try playing tennis there. She has also promoted the sport as an activity for over-65s and arranges mixed social matches, running a group on social messaging service WhatsApp to keep people up to date with activities, as well as playing herself and supporting other members at matches.
An Avon Tennis spokesperson said: “Lesley is an example of how willingness, practice, effort and determination absolutely pays off. She visibly displays and shows her enjoyment of the sport that is inspirational for others, and cascades across the members she involves and plays with.
“Lesley’s strong interpersonal skills enable her to inspire anyone of any ability to ‘have a go’.”
Lesley said: "Tennis is good for you emotionally, mentally and physically. It gives people a complete break from life's stresses.
“I really enjoy it, and it’s sociable, too. Any age can play and it's great for retired people, that's why I do it. I really want to help and encourage others, because I've benefited so much."
Avon Tennis county secretary Clive Sampson said: “The judges had a tough job to select winners, due to the overwhelming contribution made at tennis venues across the county. It is heartening to award those who put so much effort behind offering great tennis opportunities for all in Avon.”