Hunstanton lawn tennis tournament and ‘Mr Hunstanton Tennis’ receive national awards

Hunstanton lawn tennis tournament and ‘Mr Hunstanton Tennis’ receive national awards
Chris Holt (second from left) and Janice Campbell (right), treasurer, Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament, with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) trophies. Looking on are Association president David Rawlinson and Heather Bottomley, LTA councillor for Norfolk.

Tournament looks forward to serving up 2021 event

Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament, dubbed the ‘Glastonbury of Tennis’ by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), has received its award for being named ‘Competition of the Year’.

Additionally, LTA president David Rawlinson has presented long-serving Tournament secretary Chris Holt with a prestigious Meritorious Service Award.

Presentation of the awards - delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown - came as organisers of the UK’s largest tennis Tournament said they hope to hold this year’s event on the Hunstanton Recreation Ground from August 15-21.

The Tournament won the ‘Competition of the Year’ title at the 2020 awards of the governing body for tennis in Britain on account of the outstanding event held and work within the community throughout 2019.

With more than 1,300 entries, the Norfolk tournament boasts some of the highest player rates in the country, while in 2019 it raised £2,000 for a hospice within the area.

Meanwhile, Chris, who lives in Snettisham, and has served as Tournament secretary since 1981 and been a committee member since 1975, was one of nine “amazing individuals” recognised in 2020 by the LTA with Meritorious Service Awards.

The 2020 LTA Awards were held virtually due to the pandemic. Consequently, with the easing of lockdown restrictions, trophy presentations by Mr Rawlinson can only now take place.

Chris said: “To have the annual ‘Sunny Hunny’ Tournament held in the sleepy backwaters of North Norfolk recognised as the best competition in the UK by the LTA is a fantastic achievement.”

Known as ‘Mr Hunstanton Tennis’, Chris acknowledged his personal award saying: “I am delighted and humbled to receive a Meritorious Service Award from the LTA. However, the Tournament is not just about me, but a fantastic committee and many behind-the-scenes supporters who all make a massive contribution to the success of the event.”

Meanwhile, as the UK ‘reopens’ from pandemic lockdown, the Tournament committee is planning for the 2021 event to include a celebration of its centenary.

Chris said: “Cancellation of the 2020 Tournament due to the pandemic meant our plans to recognise the 100-year anniversary of the event were put on hold.

“As the Tournament committee plans for the 2021 event to take place, we will be guided by the Government, the LTA and, critically, the community of Hunstanton and the surrounding villages as the UK emerges from the pandemic. For the Tournament and centenary celebration to take place as scheduled in August the safety of everyone - competitors, spectators, event supporters and organisers and, crucially, the area’s residents - is essential.

“While we hope the 2021 Tournament takes place - and we currently plan to start taking entries online on May 1 - the committee is absolutely conscious of its safety responsibilities.”

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