A 98 YEAR-old Dunmurry man who has played at the same tennis club for the past 60 years was presented with a lifetime achievement award by Lord Mayor of Belfast Gavin Robinson.
Arthur Norris, believed to be the oldest active tennis players in the world, who has continually played at the Windsor Tennis Club since 1946 was given the honour in front of members at a short ceremony.
The former RAF serviceman who admits to having only problems serving overarm, and who still drives to the club twice a week even showed the Mayor how fit he was by playing him in a match and beating him.
“To have lived into the 90s and beyond, is no great deal these days,” said Mr Norris. “Quite a lot of people do it.
“But to have got up to this stage and still be active in body and mind, well I think I’ll be lucky and grateful.”
His longevity, he believes, has been inherited from his parents.
“I’ve always been healthy,” he said. “I’ve had no major illnesses tropical or otherwise and generally speaking I have kept active and kept going.
“Rather like Old Man River in the song - I’ve just kept rolling along.”
Mr Norris said: “Some people will think I’ve had an interesting and somewhat adventurous career. But I don’t think so - interesting, perhaps but adventurous I think hardly.”
His travels with the armed forces has taken him to the likes of Sierra Leone. South Africa, Liberia, the Gold Coast (now Ghana), Tangiers, Gibraltar and a string of other countries. The most bizarre sight being the Stromboli volcano in full eruption.
“I’m overwhelmed by it,” said Mr Norris. “I wasn’t expecting anything like this. I’m very grateful.”
Club honorary secretary David Williams said, “I think it proves to everyone in sport that you can keep going on, as long as you keep making the effort.
“Like he says, he keeps rolling on. I take my hat off to Mr Norris.”
Mr Norris was presented with a grey hooded top emblazoned with his initials, a crystal clock and a portrait of a Spitfire aircraft painted by an RAF pilot.
“Some people will think I’ve had an interesting and somewhat adventurous career,” said Mr Norris. “But I don’t think so - interesting, perhaps but adventurous I think hardly.”