logo     How the Tennis Club was started...

 

 

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The club was first formed in the late 1970's by a small group of enthusiastic players; Maureen Forsyth, Denys & Buffy Heywood, Betty Hill,Norman Drake to name a few. There were no public courts in Deddington because the old Windmill Schoool ones were disused and unplayable.

 

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However, the RAF (USAAF) base at Upper Heyford had excellent courts and kindly gave us permission to use them; so a club was formed and successfully played in the Banbury League.With no clubhouse to entertain visitors on Home match-days, teas had to be served alfresco or inside cars if cold!

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, minds were focussing on whether the courts at the Windmill could be restored. The then Sports Council (SC) was asked whether the club would be elligible for a grant? They advised that it could only receive a grant if it had an established constitution and elected committee and either owned or had long lease tenure of the proposed courts' land.

A group of volunteers had already started to clean up and use parts of the old school buildings for the Scouts, Guides and occasional social activities. A Community Centre was beginning to be created.

The single brick, uninsulated, walls, metal frame windows and minimal heating called for stoicism in winter!

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To cut a longish story short (see the Windmill Community Centre's history for the full version) the Parish Council (PC) were negotiating a long lease with the Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) for the building when the club also approached the OCC for a long lease on the tennis court land. At the same time, Rockwell Development Ltd (who had recently purchased some of the playing fields from the OCC) were worried that their new houses would be looking onto an eyesore and was talking to the PC about this. The club's request to the OCC for a long lease was therefore a timely catalyst causing the OCC to suggest to the PC that they buy the buildings and all the playing fields including the old tennis courts - a very serendipitous move.

In order to progress creating a brand new Community Centre, the PC  formed a sub-committee called The Financial Working Group which was chaired by Rob Forsyth...also the self interested Chairman of the Tennis Club! - assisted by Mary Robinson (PC Chair) as Secretary. The PC completed the purchase from OCC on 2 September 1982. Rockwell Development Ltd subsequently demolished the old school buildings, built a brand new Community Centre and laid new playing fields. The deal also financed the creation of children's play areas.This was not done without a certain amount of pain, some of which is recounted in  the Windmill History, but...the club now had security of tenure to apply to the SC for agrant and loan. 

While all this was going on the (rather over-worked ) club chairman and his committee set about bridging the gap between the SC grant of £2500 & loan of £2500 and Cherwell District Council's grant of £2500 and the £14,662 cost of the new courts. Various fundrasing methods were used - advance subscriptions, loans (some kindly waived repayment) and fund-raising.

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... the fund raising was very imaginative

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The accounts for 28 January 1983 give more details.

The courts were available for play from 1 April 1983. All loans were repaid on time and the club has flourished ever since.

For up to date information on the club's activities today  browse their website