Work started this week on a new million-pound three-court tennis facility at Volunteer Park which was made possible by the Bill McLaren Foundation.
The tennis courts are part of a multi-sports facility plan which is being spearheaded by the foundation, whose director Brian Renwick told the Hawick News: “I’ve been working with the cricket club, tennis club and the two rugby clubs at the site to create a lasting sporting legacy in the town in Bill’s name and we’ve been successful in obtaining £176,000 of funding for the facility.”
The tennis courts are the first of a three-phase development which includes plans for a new IRB and FIFA-compliant 3G artificial rugby and football pitch, as well as a multi changing facility for the whole community.
Mr Renwick added: “We’re delighted that the tennis courts work has started and we’re now committed to moving forward with the rest of the project.”
Since it was created in 2010 following Mr McLaren’s death, the foundation has raised money which it grants to individuals, clubs and organisations to provide sporting opportunities for young people to participate in sport whilst also promoting qualities valued by Mr McLaren, such as sportsmanship, respect and discipline.
More than £380,000 has already been granted and has had an impact in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Africa as well as closer to home in Scotland and in particular in Hawick.
Also commenting on the exciting new development, Eddie Brogan, who heads up the tennis club, said: “In 2002 the two tennis clubs in the town merged. The sport is growing again.
“We have been really struggling with the facilities up the park and to get three new courts close to the school will be a great asset.”
Madge Elliot, who was at the forefront of tennis in the town for many decades, added: “It is really great to have the work on three new courts started this week.
“I really enjoyed the game and I hope this inspires lots more people to take it up.”
Hawick Tennis Club has its own Facebook page and old and new members are encouraged to get in touch.