Free tennis sessions in an Exeter park have been ranked among the most popular in the country, Exeter City Council has revealed.
The Tennis For Free (TFF) sessions at Heavitree Pleasure Ground were ranked number one in the UK for participation.
The weekly sessions are organized by the national sports association Tennis For Free in partnership with the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) and the Exeter City Council.
TFF coach Bradley Rickard leads the Saturday morning sessions from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., with the help of volunteer Ardal.
The sessions are so popular that they continue throughout the winter months.
Equipment is provided for those without a snowshoe and no experience is necessary.
This year alone, the Heavitree sessions have attracted some 793 participants and 7,913 since the sessions began eight years ago.
Heavitree TFF coordinator Penelope Moore said the sessions had averaged 35 to 40 people each week and could now accommodate those under 12, due to the easing of Covid restrictions.
“We have created a real community center and the Council has been very supportive of the project and is determined to keep the principle of free courts open to the public which addresses social inclusion and eliminates financial barriers and maximizes the use of tennis courts,” “she added.
For Penelope, a former international tennis player who played at Wimbledon and other Grand Slam tournaments in the 1970s, the success of the sessions is all the sweeter as she began her tennis career on the courts of Heavitree. many years ago.
“I have a sentimental connection to the courts at Heavitree because that’s where I was picked by the regional coach for free training when I was a kid and won the Heavitree Park Junior Under 14 at the time!”
Cllr Duncan Wood, Senior Recreation and Physical Activity Advisor, said: “It’s great news that the Heavitree sessions are proving so popular.
“The courts are open year round to anyone who wants to play, regardless of age or ability, and are a great way to get active and stay fit and healthy.”
To participate in Heavitree’s TFF sessions on Saturday mornings, visit the TFF website at https://www.tennisforfree.com/sites/heavitree-pleasure-ground/
The TFF also hosts sessions on the City Council courts at Cowick Barton Playing Fields with Head Coach Steve Ashton. However, these sessions were interrupted for the winter but will resume in the spring.