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Three Tennis Club Life Members

October 15, 2020 October 2020 No Comments

John Taylor, Libby Paterson, and Jenny Wilkie were awarded Life Membership of the Martinborough Lawn Tennis Club at the club’s AGM recently. 

All top-notch tennis players, for many years they tirelessly gave to the club in many ways: from hosting, setting up and running tournaments; working on the grounds; running junior tennis; and representing the club on regional and local sports bodies.

Club members unanimously agree that the trio are all very modest, hard workers who have helped hold the club together over the years. 

John Taylor (or just JT) is often referred to as ‘The Legend’ after winning various titles at a Wairarapa Tennis Championship. He is a former president of the Wairarapa Tennis Association, and Martinborough Men’s club captain.  

Among many contributions, JT played a large part in fund raising for two Astro Turf courts and made it his mission to maintain (relevelling and relaying) the club’s grass courts over the years. 

The Martinborough club takes pride in being one of the very few remaining clubs to still have grass courts in play.

Fellow members say JT was well-known for chatting to everyone after a game, beer in hand. Generous with his time and knowing everyone in tennis circles, his very persuasive, gentle way was successful in getting people involved when things needed to be done. 

Libby Paterson’s tennis started as a child, encouraged by her father, a particularly good player.  Coming to Martinborough in 1983 as a teacher, Libby ran junior tennis, was Club President for five years, Ladies club captain, on the Wairarapa Tennis Association, and club champ for several years.  

She also played for both regional one and regional two teams, taking out the Gawith Trophy in 1991/92 alongside JT and Jenny.  Starting as a junior convenor, Libby remains a committee member to this day.

Also a teacher, Jenny Wilkie has fond memories of club family days. She has represented Martinborough at interclub, been club Treasurer, club champion (winning when “Libby was feeling off colour”, she claims), deeply involved in Junior tennis teams and tournaments, and has run Ladies fundraising tennis tournaments.

Now running the Thursday Ladies midweek group, she says “the tennis can be competitive, but with many laughs and the ladies are good company”.  

Very organised, Jenny effortlessly arranges for ladies to help with catering for events including the annual Over The Hill Tournament, and gardening at the club when needed.

Involved with junior tennis in the 1970-80s, Libby and Jenny agree “there have always been a lot of playing opportunities for youngsters, often partnering with adults”. 

They take pride that generations of players can be traced way back, with many great-grandchildren of the original tennis club families now playing.  

Martinborough club is well-known for its local hospitality, and all three life members have played a large part in hosting tournaments and events. 

Libby fondly remembers a tournament that sadly no longer exists, the infamous annual Christmas Tournament “which was always a lot of fun and very social.  Ask JT about some of those dinners!” she laughs. 

A Club celebration is planned soon, so fellow members can share stories and thanks to JT, Libby and Jenny, congratulating them in person.

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