logo     How the Tennis Club was started...


The idea of forming a club using the former Windmill School courts seems to have been first mooted by the Deddington Society in March 1973 when George Enstone  wrote to the OCC enquiring if they could use the courts. He also suggested some resurfacing was needed. As can be seen from the exchange of letters, the OCC demurred to resurface but offered a 5p reduction on the 30p/hour rental as there was no net!  Because the courts were not playable and after a pause, the club was formed  by a small group of enthusiastic players - George Enstone, Maureen Forsyth, Denys & Buffy Heywood, Betty Hill and Norman Drake to name a few - and permission was sought of the RAF (USAAF) base at Upper Heyford which had excellent courts and kindly gave us permission to use them.

The club 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!


OldtenniscourtsWMeanwhile, behind the scenes, minds continued to focus on how the courts at the Windmill - which were now very dilapidated (click on image left to get a better view) 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!

click on image for larger version 


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 out 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 club 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, personal loans (some kindly waived repayment) and fund-raising.


... 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