Published: June 15, 2010
Burnham-On-Sea tennis academy receives £3,000 grant boost

Burnham-On-Sea's Nathan Edwards Tennis Academy has been awarded a £3,000 grant from the Somerset Community Foundation to be used to subsidise the coaching of talented children.

Sally Edwards, the founder of the group, told this week she is delighted about the news, which came after a last-minute application.

"The offer of grants from them had been known for some time but I had not realised until just two days before the closing date that we could still apply," she said.

"I downloaded the application from the Foundation's website and spent several hours getting all the information needed. I finished it at 4am on the closing date, and still got up for work at 6am!"

"Nathan's dad, Joseph Montgomery, drove to Shepton Mallet and delivered it by hand before midday. I was so tired that day, but as you can see it was worth it. It came at a perfect time for us as funds were low and this gived us some breathing space for a few months while we set up our own new tennis club called 'Nathan Edwards Tennis' based at King Alfred School's sports centre and with the use of the public courts."

Sally told "We are in talks with KASC and already have a coaching programme designed to start in September. We already have a new Under 8's group that runs on Wednesdays from 4-5 pm and are alredy registered with the LTA as a Tennis Club with a membership."

"The club and the coaching will be open to anyone in the community and will provide coaching groups for all ages. It will also provide us with the opportunity to look for children who may have great potential for tennis who may have the chance to join the academy and benefit from the excellent coaching and opportunity it provides."

The academy is planning to hold various open days, taster sessions, coaching sessions and tennis camps over the summer holidays, as well as a talent ID day.

She added: "We will also continue to run events to fund our talented academy players. We would also like to ask any local businesses who believe in the promotion of sport for health, the pursuit of excellence, equal opportunity in sport and the creation of a level playing field to consider sponsoring the academy and club which was started on the back of a tragic loss."

Meanwhile, Burnham County Councillor Peter Burridge-Clayton is set to present a £250 cheque to the academy on Wednesday evening (June 16th).

The Academy has also had a great deal of success recently, with members Oliver Punt (8) and Jonnie Bougourd (8) leading the way in competitions and now doing well at county level tournaments.

Thomas Punt (6), known to all as the 'Rocket', played his first tournament in Exeter a week after his 6th birthday and won one match in a high standard group and was given the good sport award for that day.

And Matthew Phillips (7) from East Huntspill did well when he reecently played his first tournament at Taunton.

All four boys recently went to Bath University to compete in a county level tournament, where all won their matches with Jonnie Bougourd making the final, which he lost after a closely-fought match.

Little Thomas was again given the Good Sport award for his great effort and good attitude, he also won two matches as did Matthew. Oliver won all his matches but was knocked out by the same boy who Jonnie lost to in the final. On June 6th Oliver, Matthew and Thomas also took part in Bath University's Festival of Tennis, where Oliver came third out of a field of 20 players from several counties.

The Academy is also planning a fundraising event on July 3rd when local band Vermin will play at The Railway pub in Burnham High Street. Tickets will be £3.00 and will be on sale shortly.


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