Club hopes to court success with new playing surface

George Lillico, right, and David Laing, the respective site managers for the project.
George Lillico, right, and David Laing, the respective site managers for the project.

The long-awaited and keenly-anticipated new court facility at Kelso Orchard Tennis Club was officially opened last Sunday afternoon.

Over 50 guests – including local MP John Lamont; vice-convenor of Scottish Borders Council, Tom Weatherston; past president of Tennis Scotland and honorary life member of Tennis Borders, Christine Lawrie; chairman of Clubsport Roxburgh, Norman Anderson; Kelso Community Council ,represented by Harry Tomczyk; George Lillico, from court constructor G. & H. Lillico, with Kelso club senior officials, committee and club members – gathered in glorious weather to watch the ceremony.

The Wimbledon-coloured ribbon was cut jointly by the club’s oldest and youngest playing members – 80-year-old Pat McDowell and four-year-old Isaac Rodwell – and the courts were declared open for play.

Pat was presented with a bouquet of flowers, in keeping with the Wimbledon tone, and Isaac was delighted to receive a surprise bag of sweets and a couple of large red mini-tennis balls.

There was plenty of bubbly and softer drinks on hand and a superb buffet, all prepared by the club committee and some other members.

Gareth Stott, immediate past president, extended thanks to G. & H. Lillico’s team for providing the club with such a splendid facility, as well as all the funders and sponsors over the years who helped bring the project to fruition.

He also acknowledgd those who had financed club ventures throughout this year, and everyone for their efforts in making the official opening a great success.

The current president then surprised the retiring c;lub stalwarts, David and Ella Laing, by making a highly amusing speech and presenting them with gifts, including something ‘Wimbledony’.

Pat McDowell and Ella Laing were later presented with their honorary life membership certificates, while David even received an official one dated ‘about 1988’ – all now displayed in the clubhouse. In addition, George Lillico also made a generous personal donation of £50 to the club’s junior tennis section.