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New Rackets Court at Tonbridge

Jul 02, 2010
The Appeal has met its target by raising £500,000 in 103 days
At Speech Day on Saturday 3 July 2010 Tonbridge School announced that an Appeal has succeeded in raising enough money to build a second Rackets court next to the existing one. The Appeal raised over £500k in just over 3 months in a fast-paced campaign led by Tonbridge parent Tom Shields QC. The T&RA worked very closely with Tom throughout this campaign, and DBTRAF have made a grant of £30k spread over 3 years, its biggest single grant ever.
The Rackets community has raised the minimum £500k from just under 200 donors since the Appeal was launched at the time of the Public Schools Doubles in mid-March. Many of the donors are OT's and current parents, but members of each and every North American Rackets Club have also contributed alongside their British counter-parts, a recognition that the 'Special Relationship' is alive and well in some walks of life! When the building contract is finally agreed, the difference between the amount raised by the Appeal and the final cost will be met by the Skinners and by Tonbridge School. Construction work will start in June 2011 after exams, and hopefully finish by the end of Mic term.
Backing up Tom there have been many people hard at work, not least T&RA Council Member David Makey [Chairman of the Rackets Professionals Association and Head Pro at Tonbridge], Mark Agate [Queen's Chairman of Rackets and an OT], and James Underhill [Tonbridge Director of Development]. The result is absolutely fantastic news for the growing sport of Rackets - two new courts in the last 10 years, and none lost or under threat. The Hopton review gave us the ambition of seeing one more Rackets court built in the next 10 years, and this meets the goal.
The next challenge is to fill this court, not just with Tonbridge schoolboys but with other local players too, and to fill the few courts that don't have a regular playing base of at least 50 people, because that would represent real growth for the game. Tournament entries in Rackets have risen significantly in the last couple of Seasons, but there is always room for more, including the fledgling Queen's Ladies squad!?
James Walton, 3 July 2010
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