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Hunstanton event scoops 'Competition of the Year' award from Lawn Tennis Association

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A tournament dubbed the ‘Glastonbury of Tennis’ has hit the perfect note by winning the ‘Competition of the Year’ award at this year’s LTA Tennis Awards.

One of 18 national winners, the Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament received the Competition of the Year accolade from the governing body for tennis in Britain for the outstanding event they hold and their work within the community throughout 2019.

Each year, the LTA delivers just shy of 10,000 recreational competitions via its network of officials, organisers and county associations, with the award paying particular attention to the efforts of volunteers and local venues.

The Hunstanton Tennis Tournament has been named as the Competition of the Year by the LTA. (39785526)
The Hunstanton Tennis Tournament has been named as the Competition of the Year by the LTA. (39785526)

With more than 1,300 entries, the Norfolk tournament boasts some of the highest player rates in the country, while last year they raised £2,000 for a hospice within the area.

This year was also set to be a celebratory one for Hunstanton, with their 100-year anniversary plans put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there is now plenty to savour in the centenary, with the competition virtually presented its award by Sally Bolton, CEO of the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

“The annual “Sunny Hunny” tournament in the sleepy backwaters of Norfolk is probably one of the largest one-week tournaments in the country which has grown in popularity over the 45 years that I have been involved,” said secretary Chris Holt.

“This very family-orientated tournament owes its success to the very supportive and hard-working committee, along with West Norfolk Council, our sponsors, the ever-growing support of the catering and trade stalls and most of all the players, many of whom return year on year. They are all part of the Hunstanton “family”.

“It’s impossible to explain the feeling when you go out into the sunshine and see all 38 courts packed with youngsters playing and thoroughly enjoying tennis, with the ground packed with parents, grandparents and other supporters.

“This year has proved very difficult with the COVID 19 situation resulting in the unfortunate cancellation of “Sunny Hunny 2020” in what would have been our 100th anniversary year, but this sadness has been counteracted by this huge award, an honour we will treasure for years to come.”

Currently in their fifth year, the LTA Tennis Awards celebrate the achievements made by outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players in Britain.

Streamed live on LTA channels and presented by Leon Smith OBE, the national ceremony – which was digital for the first time in the awards’ history – saw the likes of current British No.1s Dan Evans and Johanna Konta pick up the LTA’s Men’s and Women’s ‘Player of the Year’ awards respectively, alongside 16 other deserving national winners.

This year saw more than 2,000 nominations across grassroots categories including Young Person of the Year and Club of the Year.

Nominations were drawn from more than 25,000 volunteers, 4,400 coaches, 940 officials, 20,000 schools, 2,700 clubs and more than 9,700 LTA approved tournaments, demonstrating the contributions of individuals and venues who help to open up the sport and bring new fans and players to the game.

“The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive,” said LTA president, David Rawlinson.

“They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.

“To be named a national winner out of over 2,000 public nominations is a fantastic achievement so I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s winners and extend my thanks to each and every one of them for all that they do to help tennis in Britain.”

Inspired by Hunstanton’s story? To find out more information about the LTA Tennis Awards or for information on how to play, coach, volunteer or officiate in tennis, head to www.lta.org.uk.

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