Joyce honoured with unsung hero award

JOYCE Pickard, of Saltford Lawn Tennis Club, has been honoured with an Unsung Hero Award from Avon Tennis.

The county award is to acknowledge someone who has made a substantive yet unheralded contribution to tennis that has resulted in a positive impact to their club and local community.

Joyce has worked tirelessly behind the scenes at the Saltford club for more than 35 years, going above and beyond to carry out the many thankless jobs that clubs cannot do without.

These range from coaching, social events and fundraising to cleaning and maintenance, underpinned by a commitment to help young people learn to play tennis.

In her role as coach she has helped and encouraged many children to enjoy tennis and develop their talent.

Two of these children are now adults (Laura Sinclair and Andy May) and have remained loyal to the club and are regular first-team players.

When not carrying out her duties as club welfare officer and chair of the fundraising committee, she arranges friendly matches between other clubs and fun tournaments.

She is currently exploring the possibility of introducing walking tennis to the club as she is determined that the club should be open and accessible to all.

She is very welcoming to new members and it is a joy to be in her company, both on and off the court.
When it comes to the maintenance of the club, she is always the first to volunteer to help. Only recently she organised a group of people to clear rubble and timber left over from the laying of a new path.

Avon Tennis secretary Clive Sampson said: “Without volunteers like Joyce working behind the scenes, our clubs would not be able to provide opportunities for others to play and enjoy tennis. It is heartening to reward those who put so much effort in.”

Her contribution has been a major part in the turnaround of the club, with its new clubhouse, increased membership and success in friendly and competitive tennis.

Many at the club think her motto in life is “ask not what your community can do for you but ask what you can do for your community”.

The club are very grateful and proud of Joyce for her years of service and the incredible example she sets. Thank you Joyce.