Beestonian London Marathon update

Regular readers will remember that Beestonian Stuart Baird was preparing to run the London Marathon in aid of JDRF, a charity who are carrying out vital diabetes research. I got back in touch with Stuart to find out how he did and this was his response…

My total raised was £3200. I was in a team of 145 runners for JDRF and just before we set off running, we met for a photograph at Greenwich park and they told us we had raised over £400,000 collectively. This is a great contribution to the clinical trials which are working towards a cure for type 1, and interventions to make kids lives healthier until that cure is found.

As for the run. Wow. If you are contemplating it and think you can do it – go for it. The support is just off the dial in London. Everyone shouting my name from the first hundred yards and for the next 4hrs 42 minutes of running!

I got in ‘synch’ at one point with a few runners and chatted with them. You meet such amazing people along the way. Because of this, I was in synch with a guy surrounded by high rise offices, I had lost track of mileage and as we turned right we both said together, ‘Oh, wow!’ – We had stumbled onto Tower Bridge (the halfway point) by accident. I may have got something in my eye at this point.

This is where the official cheer points are for all the charities – JDRF (including Helen, James and Will), Macmillan, Tommys, Dementia, Cystic Fibrosis etc – thousands of people looking for their team but supporting anyone and everyone. The noise went up several levels.

A couple of miles further down the road, the runners go down an underpass where no supporters can go, all you can hear is silence and runners feet for a quarter mile, but then you turn left and up the ramp out and you’re in the city again. The high rises have tiered walkways so the noise hits you as if you’re a footballer coming out onto a stadium – unbelievable. Again, lump in the throat time.

“Those in the room all stood and clapped.”

I did a good pace until 20 miles and left myself 1hr & 10 mins to do the last 10k (6 miles.) I have been known to do this in 52 mins so I thought all is good. I had forgotten all the advice about fuelling – you are meant to take gels from 6 miles onwards every 20 mins because if you deplete your body and leave it late, you just feel sick all the time.

I ran/walked the last four miles. More than that, I wasn’t aware that as part of the whole JDRF team (which was much bigger than my small part) the charity put on a reception in China Town and as we came into the room, there were official cheerers and those in the room all stood and clapped. There was loads of food and a sports massage. I was made to feel very special but more than that I was very aware I was just one bit of a huge team, organisers, supporters, families and friends to raise that amount of money.”

Congratulations to Stuart from everyone at the Beestonian for his superb efforts.

Beeston Sailing Club

When it comes to sport in Beeston, many people are aware of its football club, the hockey team and even the croquet club, but one of the town’s oldest and lesser-known sporting clubs is a sailing club.

Situated just opposite Attenborough Nature Reserve, Beeston Sailing Club has a long history on the waters of the Trent since being established over 70 years ago.

“It was founded in 1948, by a group of gentlemen who met in the Angel Inn,” explained club secretary Clare Bailey.

“The part of the land here was actually owned by the Second Beeston Sea Scouts from around the 1920s and then in 1945/46 the lease was given to the sailing club and that’s how it was formed.”

The club has a proud history.

Whilst the club remains a relevant part of Beeston’s history, it has seen a sharp decline in members since the ’90s and currently has only 18 memberships.

“We used to have 200 plus when river sailing was quite popular,” said social secretary Terry Parker, who has been a member of the club for 18 years. “I remember on a Thursday night the river used to be full of Merlin Rockets, the name of the popular boat at the time.”

So why has the sailing club lost so many members over the past few decades?

“I think it was just lack of interest in sailing and the members were trying to keep it as a sailing club and not diversify into other things when you need to now,” says Terry.

“We’re sort of advertising ourselves to paddleboarders. It would be great if we had a fleet of them and canoeists.”

Past Trophy winners.

When visiting the club, there’s a real peacefulness about the place. The club sits far away from the busy roads in the area and the clubhouse is a great place for members to congregate.

It’s easy to see why it would be the perfect place for sailing, but Clare and Terry make it clear that the club offers more than just sailing to its members.

“We always get people who say, ‘I would love to live down here’ and I’ve said if you just want to come down for the weekend, join the sailing club. If you want to just chill out, bring your family and have a barbecue. This is a great area for birdwatching as well, with Attenborough Nature reserve just across the river” said Terry.

Like any business though, if Beeston Sailing Club is to survive, it needs to continue to gain more members, with operating costs making the sailing club increasingly expensive.

“We are looking for new members, but it’s about how we attract them and what it is that would be interesting for them,” Clare says. “We’re sort of advertising ourselves to paddleboarders. It would be great if we had a fleet of them and canoeists. It would be really good to get local children involved as well and to be able to offer them something which is so near to them.”

Anyone interested in joining the club can contact them at https://www.facebook.com/beestonsailing/

Nottingham Croquet Club

Nottingham Croquet Club has been a feature of Highfields Park for 80 years and with the club being the home of the reigning croquet world champions, Paddy and Miranda Chapman, Beeston is the home of one of Nottingham’s most successful sports clubs.

The club previously hosted the Women’s World Championships in 2015, which was won by Miranda and will be hosting the Under 21 Croquet World Championships in July this year.

“It’s really nice to have youngsters playing because everyone has an image of croquet as being about old people which it’s not,” said club chairman Beatrice McGlen.

The club are trying to bring croquet to new people and with the clubs slogan being ‘croquet for all’, Beatrice is hoping that more young people will get involved in the sport across Nottingham as they try to mirror the success that the sport has had with younger generations in New Zealand.

“In the Under 21 Championships coming up, there are 24 players who have been selected by the World Croquet Federation and 10 of them are from New Zealand, which is a pretty high number,” says Beatrice.

18-year-old James Galpin will be competing at the Under 21 Croquet World Championships at the club in July.

“The set up with sports and schools in New Zealand is very similar here, so we’ve got 5 local schools within the vicinity of the club who we are going to do a taster session with in June.

“We’re then going to have an afterschool club on a Thursday and the idea is to set up an interschool competition with the final being played during the Under 21 Championships so they can see the world’s best young people playing whilst having their own competition. Hopefully, we will end up with a thriving junior section within the club.”

Croquet is not only stereotyped as being for elderly people, but also for those who are mainly white and middle class, something which Beatrice tells me that the club are making efforts to address.

“We have a Pakistani member, Ferzana Shan, she’s our only Asian member and I was saying to her one day, ‘how can we make croquet more appealing to the Asian population?’ She said one of the difficulties is actually getting people through the gate, so last year we were invited to the Pakistani forum for the Pakistan independence day celebrations and we went along to their dinner and showed them how to play croquet.

“This year we’re talking about having an evening specifically geared for Asian families. It’s a perfect sport for multi-generational families to play because you can really play from 9 to 90 without any trouble at all.”

There are often several different games of croquet being played simultaneously at the club.

There are two types of croquet that are commonly played; association croquet which can be very tactical and requires more mental and technical skill and golf croquet which is seen as being more sociable.

Tim King has played almost 2000 games of croquet, which he tells me is the most in the croquet ranking system. Tim will be competing in the Golf Croquet World Championships this summer and says that although it is a simple sport to play, there is more to it than people might think. “Almost anybody can start playing a competitive game of croquet in about 10 minutes, but the fascination of it comes from the tactics. There’s lots of different choices, some players like to hit the ball harder and other players are really accurate and put the ball exactly where they want it to block the opponent.

“I love my cricket and football, but because I don’t have natural hand-eye coordination I was just never good enough, but in croquet, I very quickly became reasonably competent.

“The mental side is the one that keeps on posing a challenge. You have to learn to stay calm. When the likes of Sir Clive Woodward talk about thinking clearly under pressure, croquet is a sport where anybody of any age, gender or level of physical fitness, can go onto that court and experience what Sir Clive means.

“I would say to anybody who’s not played a competitive sport before because they feel they don’t have what it takes, croquet is a sport that they can really enjoy.”

Anyone interested in having a go at croquet can contact the club at https://www.nottinghamcroquet.org.uk/contact

Beestonian to run London Marathon in aid of diabetes research

On the 28th April, Beeston resident Stuart Baird will attempt to run the London Marathon to raise money for vital research on diabetes after his son James was diagnosed with type 1, the most severe form of the disease.

“He lost a dramatic amount of weight in a very short period of time and he was rushed to the children’s hospital. it was a big shock. Nobody in the family has any history of diabetes,” said Stuart.

Stuart is originally from Leeds but has been living in Beeston for almost 20 years. His love for the town is such that he has expanded his house twice since moving to the area in the late ’90s.

At the start of his sons’ treatment, Stuart was asked by one of the doctor’s if his son would be willing to take part in something called ‘the honeymoon trial.’ “It’s to test the functionality of the pancreas,” explained Stuart. “You’re having to inject yourself before every meal with insulin and you end up with a continuous closed loop monitor, which monitors his blood sugars and that talks to a pump which feeds him the insulin he needs,” he said.

The trial was funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) a charity which works towards funding type 1 diabetes research. According to JDRF, over 29,000 children in the UK suffer from type 1 diabetes, with Stuart hoping that the money raised will benefit them.

“My target is £2000,” reveals Stuart. “The funds will directly help children on this research trial in Nottingham and elsewhere in the country. The reason why it’s so important to fund these projects is so that young people and children who’ve got type 1 diabetes, can be helped to control there blood sugar’s from a very early age, which means that they will live happier lives and will have just as long a life span as everyone else would,” says Stuart.

I know not everyone can or wants to run but if you encourage others, it is so appreciated. You never know what that person is running for, or how hard it has been for them

Running the London marathon will be far from straight forward. At 26.2 miles, only the Paris marathon is bigger in Europe. In preparation, Stuart had been clocking up plenty of miles when we spoke at the end of February.

“It’s the first time I’ve done a marathon, even though I think I’ve done at least ten half marathons. I’ve already clocked up 180 miles in training over January and February. I’ll have to run next Sunday (3rd March) 16 miles, the next Sunday is 18, I do 3 lots of 20 miles and then one 22 and that’s just before the marathon,” he said.

“If you are raising money for a loved one, the last mile and finish line can get quite emotional – it’s journey’s end.

“For example, the Great North Run finishes with a mile uphill and just as you hit the top you see the North Sea, a beach and around 80,000 people cheering you on to the finish line. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

“When you have your name on your running number, people call out your name and encourage you. It’s a great feeling. I know not everyone can or wants to run but if you encourage others, it is so appreciated. You never know what that person is running for, or how hard it has been for them – a lot have lost children, parents or friends and are running for their memory, as well as raising money” said Stuart.

So what does Stuart hope to ultimately achieve from attempting this mammoth task?

“I want more people to know about type 1 diabetes and the challenges that those with type 1 have to face. It doesn’t just affect the person, but it affects the person’s family because you need to appreciate that they can’t just eat and drink and not care about what they’re putting into there body. They need to constantly think about there insulin and blood sugar levels

“I did run the London Landmarks half marathon for JDRF last year, but it’s not so much about me and running, it’s more about me running for JDRF because I’m a big believer in what they are trying to achieve and obviously James has directly benefited from the work that the NUH (Nottingham University Hospitals) team and JDRF have done. It’s just phenomenal really.”

To support Stuart’s efforts visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stuart-baird5?utm_id=26

 

 

Beeston Football Club

All to play for at Beeston FC

Beeston FC
Beeston FC under 9’s.

Beeston FC has grown considerably since we last covered them a year ago. The club has further developed there work with girl’s football, to the extent in which they now have four separate groups playing, whilst the club itself continues with its plans for a clubhouse which will benefit not just the football club but the local community as a whole.

“I’ve got a daughter who’s now 12 and she and her friends wanted to try football, so I ran a few sessions at Roundhill Primary School,” said Beeston FC’s Charlie Walker.

“As a club and the way football is evolving, the girl’s game is such an important part of it that we wanted to offer that. We’ve got groups at under 7, under 9, under 11 and under 13 with just over 50 signed up and we’ve put six coaches, a mixture of men and women, through there level 1 FA football coaching course.”

The club have come far with the development of their girl’s teams, with January seeing the under 13’s take part in their first competitive match in a friendly against Nottingham Forest Ladies under 13’s.

Football participation among females is at an all-time high in this country. In March last year, the FA revealed that 1.7 million females aged five and over, took part every month.The increased attention given to the England Women’s football team, nicknamed The Lionesses, has certainly helped to remove the stigma that football is a sport primarily for males.

Beeston FC took part in the FA’s Wildcat Scheme to try and get more girls interested in playing football, however, the Wildcat Scheme only lasted until the summer, something which makes running a girl’s football team throughout the year more difficult.

“Because the wildcat scheme was supported by existing coaches who all had their own teams, the challenge was to find coaches who would be willing to take it on should we support them and also, could we keep hold of those who came to the wildcat sessions and find more girls to join,” says Charlie. “But we have managed to do that, which has been our big achievement of 2018.”

Whilst Beeston FC is one of the most popular football clubs in the area, like many at grassroots level, it’s difficult to fund for new facilities.

In November 2017, the club where unsuccessful in there bid to receive £10,000 from the Aviva Community Fund, in order to improve the facilities even though they received over 5000 votes, one of the highest numbers in the competition.

“It’s important for us as a club, that as we develop the teams and attract more young people to play, that we can improve the facilities,” Charlie tells me.

“If we can have a clubhouse to bring people together and create a community feel within the club as well as bringing some benefit to the Rylands, then that would help in terms of the growth and development of the club.

We run a little fundraising event, we’ve just done a raffle. We advertise them on Beeston Updated so we’ll be publicising stuff” Charlie concludes.

If your daughter is interested in playing for Beeston FC please contact Charlie on 07803 592032.

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Beeston Badminton Club

Beeston’s social badminton club with a competitive edge

by Isaac Seelochan

At this time of year, with the murkier weather and many people hopelessly looking to maintain New Year’s resolutions, indoor sports will become increasingly popular.

Beeston badminton club

Badminton is one in which you can have fun with friends whilst keeping fit.

Beeston Valley Badminton Club meet up twice a week every Monday and Thursday at Chilwell Olympia. The club has a strong membership with around 40 members, and like many sports clubs around Beeston, their history stretches beyond the 21st century.

“Beeston Valley BC has been part of the ‘Beeston badminton scene’ since 1947, when the club was set up at the Valley Mission Church on Queen’s Road, now a nursery opposite Humber Road,” said membership secretary Alison Bexon.

“My uncle started the club as a church social group after he played badminton with some Canadians with whom he was stationed during WWII. As more players joined, the club entered teams into the Nottinghamshire Badminton Association Leagues. My parents met at the club and I also met my husband here too.”

Badminton, whilst being by no means an easy sport to play, is perhaps more enjoyable to participate in than many other sports as even if you struggle, it gives you a chance to socialise.

“We’re here to be competitive because otherwise we wouldn’t play in the league, but it’s important that we have a social side as well,” said Alison.

“Everybody gets on with everyone. If you’re not good enough to play everybody has a place and an opportunity to play, but it’s also about encouraging people who want to take that next step: rather than coming and hitting a shuttle about with friends, they want to take it a bit more seriously.”

I went on a Thursday night but being half term, was told that regular coach Mick had gone away for the day, so the coaching duties fell to Ric Latham, a player at the club who got involved in coaching through a primary school he used to work at.

“I’m quite a mental sided coach so I do a lot in terms of anticipation. Say you have to keep the shuttle low, having that in mind for your anticipation for your own team and then bringing that all together at the end, when you’re being told what shot you’ve got to play while also having to listen out for the shot being played on the other side.”

members in action

During the session, everyone has to decide whether they were attacking or defending which Ric explains, “generally, if you’re attacking you will be hitting the shuttle down looking to  hit the floor and to score, whereas if you’re defending, you’re really just looking to try and repel that and usually you’ll see the shuttle going upwards.”

Club members also get a chance to socialise with each other off the court, with a trip away during May being referred to as ‘the May trip.’

“It’s a non-Badminton thing. It’s about finding a cottage in the country somewhere around the UK and spending a week or a long weekend in May walking, socialising, eating, drinking. It’s very sociable, but we never play any badminton, we play tennis but never badminton!” said long-time club member James Capel.

Beeston is the home to many sports clubs, but few are as popular and enjoyable to be around as this one.

The club is a fantastic ambassador for badminton in Beeston.

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Beeston Touch Rugby Game

Beeston plays host to The European Touch Rugby Championships

Touch Rugby is a sport that many of you will have heard of, some may have played it at school, but few will have taken it seriously as a competitive sport.

touch rugby2
Some of the matches taking place at the event

This year, the European Touch Rugby Championships where held at Highfields Park for four days in July. Such is the growing popularity of Touch Rugby, that the event was broadcast on the BBC for the first time.

“I’ve been involved in the sport for eight years and it’s grown enormously since I started,” said Referee Manager and Beeston local, Dani Hegg. “When I started in Nottingham we had around 50 people involved and now we have about 300!”

Touch Rugby shares some similarities with Rugby, but with a few noticeable differences. Whilst you can score a try, there are no scrums. Tackling is done by a touch and there are no line-outs.

The matches last for 40 minutes, with two 20-minute half’s and a short break in between. “It involves a lot of sprinting, so it’s quite physical,” said Dani.

The open competitions including the men’s, women’s and mixed are the most popular, but there is also a senior’s category for over 45’s, proving that Touch Rugby is a sport where, if fit enough, anyone can play.

So how popular is Touch Rugby and what brings the sport to Beeston?

“The event has been going on for over 20 years,” explained Dani.  “The first time, it was obviously still quite small, but Touch (Rugby) is a growing sport and we now have about 800 to 900 players here to compete, with 100 referees. We always need at least 3 referees per game and 14 players per team, so there’s quite a lot of people involved at this event.

“Nottingham was put forward to host the event, because we have some of the best pitches. The last event was in Ireland, and we’ve got the World Cup happening next year in Malaysia, which will involve more teams.

touch rugby3
The tents of some of the competing nations

“There’s 17 countries taking part in this event, we have referees from all of these countries as well as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa who came to help us out, because the sport is a lot bigger in the southern hemisphere where the referees have years of experience that they’re giving to us here in England.”

Halfway through our conversation, a loud claxon sounds which Dani explains is the signal for the start of the second half of all the matches.

“All the matches are centralised, with the claxon going off for half-time and then when the matches start so everyone knows what’s happening.

“We have a Group Stage and then there’s Knockout’s followed by Gold Medal and Silver Medal matches.

“The Men’s and the Women’s Open are the most popular categories, because that is the highest level, where countries will put players in.”

So how do you get involved if you are interested?

“To join, there is a Facebook group called Nottingham Touch and we’re also on Twitter where you can contact us.

“We have Leagues where there are mixed Women’s and Men’s games which are played on the Beeston Hockey pitches in Winter and Spring and then we have the Summer League which is played at Gresham Playing Fields, so there’s quite a lot going off. Nottingham is one of the bigger clubs in the country.

“I hope that this event will have a good impact on Beeston. Nottingham Touch Rugby are always looking for players to join, so we are hoping that people coming here today will see that this is a great sport to participate in.”

Many in Beeston will not have realised that such an international event was taking place on their doorstep, but there’s no doubt that few sports are more fun, engaging and easier to play than Touch Rugby.

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Beeston FC Coach Charlie Walker’s World Cup Predictions

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup getting closer, I spoke with Beeston FC coach Charlie Walker to find out what he thinks about the tournament and why England will win it! (yes, seriously)

What are your first memories of the World Cup?

My first memories of the World Cup, where when England beat Italy 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley and Kevin Keegan scored an amazing header from the penalty spot. But it wasn’t enough, and we didn’t qualify for the 1978 World Cup.

Which was your favourite World Cup?

Italia 90, when England got to the semi-finals. I was a student and it was just great following their progress at a World Cup, which is obviously quite unusual in my life time! I just loved the excitement and drama of it all. David Platt scored that amazing shoulder goal, against Belgium in the last minute to put us through. After that you just saw children everywhere trying to recreate that goal.

What do you make of England’s group?

I think our group is quite tricky. Belgium are very good. I think Tunisia are playing quite well, but I’m optimistic and I think we will get through the group stage. If we get through the group stage, like in Italia 90 where we struggled through, but grew into the tournament, I don’t see why we can’t go on a run and it might be quite exciting.

Which player is crucial to England’s chances this summer?

I suppose the obvious one is Harry Kane, because you’ve got to have someone who can bag a lot of goals to progress, I think that’s a given. The other obvious one’s are the goalkeeper (which I presume will be Jordan Pickford) as the Champions League final showed you can’t fail in that area. I really like Jesse Lingard, he seems to play without fear which for an England player is something. His runs and his movement seem good to me, so I think he brings a lot of quality, and I think he could make a difference.

What do you make of the expectations around this England team?

In a way our best chance this year is that our expectations are so low. The players are quite young so if the expectations are so low and they don’t feel a great deal of pressure, there’s no reason why they can’t come together and succeed. Greece won the Euro’s in 2004, which no one expected, so there’s definitely talent in our team, I think they’ve just got to stay calm.

Who do you see winning the golden boot at this year’s tournament?

I’ll go for Griezmann on the basis that he’s been there and done it before at the Euro’s a few years ago.

Finally, who’s your pick to win it?

I’m going to go mad and go with England. In reality I don’t think they will, but I just like the fact that nobody expects us to do that well, I think that’s really good and I like the squad.

I think one of the problems we’ve had in the past, is that even though we’ve had a more talented group of players, we struggled to put it all together on the pitch. This group of players seem to be able to translate their club form, to the international stage. I’m hoping that like when England won The Ashes in 2005, where we had a fairly young test team who weren’t tarnished by failure, that our group of players have that optimism.

A lot of them have a good relationship with Southgate from when he was coaching the England Under 21 team, so I’m just hoping that comes together and creates a positive dynamic. I think the group stage will be hard, but if we get through that, then theirs an outside chance.

How are things going with Beeston FC since we last spoke?

Things are going well. We now get 40 girls every week playing girls football and that continues until the end of July. Any girls aged 5 to 13 are welcome to come along and join.

Also, the club house at our home ground on Trent Vale road, is not great but we are applying for a grant from the Football foundation to try and regenerate that, to create a facility which has four changing rooms, a function room, kitchen and full disability access. The cost of that is around £500,000, and we’ve had plans drawn up by an architect in Beeston, which have been submitted to the Football Foundation. We’ve got through the first stage of the Football Foundation process which is really good. Now we have to develop the plans further and try to find some funding to put towards whatever the Football Foundation will pay if they accept our bid.

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Chilwell Tennis Club: “The unintentional best kept secret in Chilwell and Beeston”

With the Nottingham Open and Wimbledon coming up, I decided to have a look to see if there were any local tennis clubs in the area.

I came across Chilwell Tennis Club, hidden away behind the Chilwell Memorial Hall, it may seem that they are only for an exclusive group of people, but I realised straight away that they were desperate for this to not be the case.

“I found out about this place a few years ago,” said Chris Clift, Secretary of the tennis club at Chilwell Memorial Hall.

“I’ve always wanted see what was going on behind the hall and I noticed that they were playing tennis. I met with Colin Bradford, a great tennis player and long-standing member and I’ve been here ever since.

“You could say that we are, unintentionally, the best kept secret in Chilwell and Beeston, because people don’t even know that we’re here. Part of my job is to raise our profile because we do need more members.

Tennis members playing doubles
Playing doubles

“To try and get more members we asked our local residents through questionnaires and from speaking to them, what they wanted from this space.”

“The first piece of advice we took on board was to get in touch with the local school, to see if they would be interested in using this for coaching and they said yes.

“That obviously got parents interested and we started running Saturday morning sessions as well as the schools coaching on Thursday mornings. Those two initiatives have really raised our profile.”

The work that Chris has put into the club has seen him pick up an award for his efforts, although he insists that the award is for the efforts of everyone at the club.

“I was very proud to receive an award on behalf of the club.

“The Nottinghamshire LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) asked everyone to nominate people in various categories and one of the categories was volunteer of the year.

“Unknown to me, the sports development officer for Nottingham at the time put my name forward and it was a total shock when I got the phone call saying that I’ve been nominated and that I’ve won it.

LTA Trophy
The LTA Nottinghamshire Volunteer of the Year award given to club secretary, Chris Clift

“I went to pick up the award at Meadow Lane in February, receiving the award from Tony Pickard who used to be Stefan Edberg’s coach. It was a great moment, but I am very much a club member who accepted the award on behalf of the club because we’ve all worked hard.”

Another hard-working volunteer at the club, is treasurer Pete Whitehouse who has been involved at the club for a decade in which there have been some tough times.

“We have a policy where if we get less than 20 members in one year then we are supposed to close.  One year when it was really bad, we had 21 members.

“Since then we’ve changed things around a bit. We’ve set up social media accounts and a website. We also went on a leaflet drive, and that got quite a few new members.”

Oliver Adams, 24, has only recently joined the club, but he enjoys the chance to play tennis and meet new people.

“I casually play tennis with my brother, but I enjoy playing at a club because it’s more structed, and you get to meet new people.

“I’ve always loved watching tennis as well. I started watching in around 2003/2004 when Tim Henman was playing, and then I got into watching Roger Federer and Andy Murray.”

Bridget Scott is in her 60s and has been living in Chilwell for the past two years, and like Oliver she enjoys the social benefits of playing at the club.

“I’ve been playing since I was 15, I never played matches though. I prefer the social side of things.

“I used to play tennis down in Kent quite a lot and when I moved here I wanted to join a club, so when I saw a notice on the door I decided to come along.”

“I really enjoy the people here, they’re great. If you make a mistake, they never make you feel rubbish. It’s a lovely environment.”

Tennis is not the only activity available at the Chilwell Memorial Hall. Regular activities include dance classes for all ages and styles, Zumba and line dancing, fitness classes, as well as indoor bowls, table tennis and badminton. There is also a snooker table for those interested in snooker.

All new club members can get a 25% discount by quoting ‘Beestonian’.

To find out more information about the club, visit: https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/ChilwellMemorialInstituteLawnTennisClub

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The Rise of Beeston Hockey Club

Hockey may not necessarily be as popular in this country as football, cricket or indeed tennis, but in Beeston it’s a sport which has put the town on the map unlike anything else.

Beeston Hockey Club, known as ‘the Bees’ are one of Nottingham’s great sporting stories, with their men’s team having risen from the bottom of the local hockey leagues to the top of the Premier League, even Brian Clough would be proud of this sporting fairy-tale.

I spoke with David Griffiths, one of the club’s directors and a former player to learn more about the story of Beeston Hockey Club.

“I’ve been working at the club for the last 15 years, my dad – Graham Griffiths – is the first team manager, who’s been here for 30 years now. Since he’s been at the club, he’s taken the first team from the bottom of local hockey, right to the top of the Premier League and one of the leading clubs in Europe, so it’s been a fairy-tale and I’ve grown up around it.”

“The club was founded in 1907 by a group of Nottingham high school pupils who lived in Beeston and then we’ve developed over time.”

“In the early 2000’s we had a little dip and got relegated from the Premier League, but in 2006 we had an Olympian from Pakistan called Mohammed Nadeem, who’s one of our highest capped players. I was playing at the time and we just had a fantastic season, got back into the Premier League and we’ve been there ever since.”

“Recently we’ve won the England Hockey Cup five times in the last nine years and we won the England Hockey Championship for the first time in 2011, having won it 3 times since.”

“The facilities have been the key to our growth over the last few years. in 2001 we received a large lottery grant from Sports England which allowed us to build two full sized pitches and a half-sized training area. Then we completely renovated the club house and built a new car park, so from that point onwards we really became the centre of excellence for hockey in the midlands and we’ve been developing the site recently as well.”

“In 2016 we resurfaced the main pitch and the smaller pitch in between the two and we’ve got plans to build another two hockey pitches as well. If we manage to pull that off it will be one of the biggest hockey centres in Europe.”

To showcase how successful Beeston Hockey Club has become, four players have been selected for England at the Commonwealth Games in Australia this month.

“The players who are going to the Commonwealth Games are Adam Dixon, Ollie Willars, Sam Ward and Mark Gleghorne. James Albery just missed out because he broke his foot in Malaysia 3 weeks ago, so we could have had five.”

It’s not just the men’s first team that are enjoying success, the ladies first team have also had a near flawless campaign.

Ladies team
The ladies first team celebrate after being crowned champions of the 2017/18 North Conference. (Credit: David Kissman)

“The ladies first team play in the North Conference, which is the league below the Premier League. This season they have won 17 games in a row and are champions of that particular division, so they will now go into a playoff to try and reach the Premier League. Fingers crossed we’ll have the men and women in the top flight next season.”

Few would have known that Beeston would be home to such a success story, no doubt their success will inspire many in the years ahead.

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