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New Aviemore covered court gets chance to shine in rain


By Gavin Musgrove


Rain failed to stop play at Rothiemurchus and Aviemore Tennis Club at the weekend as the venue's brand new all-weather court got an early chance to shine.

Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes was joined by Yvonne Birnie, a real driving force behind the big money project, and two rising young star players Lexi Farquhar and Callum Mackay to officially open the court with a cover on Saturday.

Around 150 people were in attendance to enjoy the celebration at the Inverdruie venue where the courts have been transformed over the past year to amongst the very best in Scotland.

Some of the women who took part in the morning coaching session with coach Matt Hulbert (centre).
Some of the women who took part in the morning coaching session with coach Matt Hulbert (centre).

The latest facility built at a cost of £394,000 is a first for the strath and will be available for all kinds of community and sports groups, not just tennis players.

A full programme of events was laid on over the weekend aimed at attracting all ages and families as well as potential venue users.

On offer was coaching from Matt Hulbert, a Level 5 LTA coach; come and try sessions for adults and children, a barbecue and American and mini-tennis family tournaments.

Kate Forbes MSP, Lexi Farquhar, Callum Mackay and Yvonne Birnie perform the honours at the official opening.
Kate Forbes MSP, Lexi Farquhar, Callum Mackay and Yvonne Birnie perform the honours at the official opening.

Mrs Birnie told those who had gathered for the official opening at 1pm: "Welcome to the launch of our lovely new court. It’s great to see such support.

"We started phase one of the project about three years ago and fundraising was top of the list. I came up with the idea to change to polymeric (surface) and to build a cover over a new court.

"I thought everyone would think I was mad but thanks to our strong committee and our members who have believed in the project and given their support throughout the process with fundraising, work parties, 24 hour play-a-thon, etcetera we have got there."

The men were able to keep dry for their coaching session even in the heavy rain.
The men were able to keep dry for their coaching session even in the heavy rain.

Mrs Birnie continued: "Phase one was to re-drain and relay the underneath surface of the three courts, funding for this was from our sinking fund, Tesco bags of help and Highland Council discretionary fund.

"Our kind neighbours from Corrour House and their company Wetherbys put funds into the landfill company WREN which allowed us to apply for landfill money which in turn paid for the polymeric surface on the three courts you see today.

"We then moved on to phase two – quite a big task but, undaunted and delighted with the success for phase one, we persevered.

"We got so close but not quite there in July, so thanks must go to the local business who pulled together at the last minute to save the project.

"To Sport Scotland and to Tennis Scotland and the LTA and Highland Council who gave us financial support and especially Kirsty Humphries from Tennis Scotland for her help and advice throughout the process.

"Thanks too to Advantage Sports and to Doe Sport for all their hard work.

"To Rothiemurchus Estate and the Grant Family for their help over the years and allowing us the extra land.

"And of course this wouldn’t have been at all possible without Cairngorm Leader who were first to offer their support back in 2016 and who have contributed a huge amount.

Putting some of coach Hulbert's tips into practice.
Putting some of coach Hulbert's tips into practice.

"Lastly there is one person I personally would like to thank, using him as a sounding board, for putting up with me rushing in and out, throwing meals down and rushing out again, his patience is second to none.

"My ever loving, and helpful husband Bob."

Work started last October, on the covered court part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community (Cairngorms Local Action Group) Leader 2014-2020 programme, Sportscotland, Tennis Scotland, local businesses, Highland Council and LTA.

Ms Forbes MSP said after the unveiling: “This is a great, new facility for the strath and, indeed, for the rest of the Highlands.

“I want to pay tribute to Yvonne’s tenacity and determination to bring this project to fruition.

“There were so many children and young people playing tennis at the open day, and I hope this facility will support a new generation of tennis players."

Davie Cameron, from Cairngorms Leader, Kate Forbes, Yvonne Birnie and some of the young tennis players who will benefit from the new court.
Davie Cameron, from Cairngorms Leader, Kate Forbes, Yvonne Birnie and some of the young tennis players who will benefit from the new court.

In all, nearly 200 people attended the activities.

The club has thanked all the representatives from Doe Sport, Advantage Sports Consultancy, Tennis Scotland, sportscotland, the Cairngorms Leader team, Mr Hulbert, Ms Forbes and everyone else who attended for turning out.



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