Campbeltown tennis club is fit for the 21st century

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Campbeltown Lawn Tennis Club courted its sponsors to net cash for a wheelchair ramp and clubhouse, which were formally opened by a centenarian member.

Before its most senior member, Ailsa Stewart, 103, cut the ribbon last Sunday, secretary Catherine Dobbie spoke about the fundraising journey.

Ms Dobbie said: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to this auspicious occasion, the opening of our new clubhouse.

‘We hope you agree with us that it’s a vast improvement on our previous clubhouse, built in the 1950s.

‘I would particularly like to welcome our special guest, Ailsa Stewart.

‘Mrs Stewart was asked to take over the running of the club 70 years ago in her present role as trustee.

‘Some have commented that this project has been all down to myself but that’s not true and I have a lot of people to thank.

‘Firstly, our committee, and this morning six of us set up for today.

‘Three members, Gill Wright, Jane Gallagher and Donald MacKay have been outstanding.

‘Gill designed the clubhouse and ramp and dealt with the planning regulations.

‘Jane, who unlike me, is very meticulous, reads the small print on our legal contracts with sportscotland and Tennis Scotland and advises us accordingly.

‘Gill and Jane have also raised funds this year with a quiz and raffle at various events culminating yesterday at the RNLI open day.

‘Donald, our captain, who is in California, on a number of occasions appeared with his tractor and trailer to remove the old clubhouse keeping costs down.

‘Thanks also go to Campbeltown Community Council chairman Alan Baker, who oversaw the project and took the stress away from the rest of us who don’t have his expertise and knowledge.

‘Thanks to all of our sponsors listed on the new noticeboard inside the gate.

‘Thanks to all the contractors for their amazing work in transforming our club into one fit for the 21st century.

‘I would like to single out our main contractor, Gerry Nugent. Nothing was ever a problem. He was very reassuring even when we discovered the old clubhouse had no solid foundations.

‘I first became involved in the club as a 12-year-old looking to escape the house and meet up with friends.

‘My friends and I spent many hours at the courts, sometimes playing tennis, often not.

‘Mrs Dickson or Gertie, as we used to call her, was in charge in those days. She gave up so much of her time making sure the club was thriving and that we were behaving.

‘She had no hesitation in throwing us out if this wasn’t the case and I’m delighted to see Gertie’s sons, Toby and Ronnie here today.

‘Since 2014 we have raised a total of £95,000 to resurface our two courts and build the new clubhouse and ramp.

‘In two years I’ll retire from the committee and as a coach. The next generation will need to ensure that the young people have access to this great game in Campbeltown.’

Guests celebrated the event with sparkling wine and traditional strawberry tarts.