60 years of Hilden Tennis Club are celebrated

Bob Colhoun with a number of former members of Hilden Tennis Club celebrating their 60th Anniversary.

Bob Colhoun with a number of former members of Hilden Tennis Club celebrating their 60th Anniversary.

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Hilden Tennis Club held 60th Anniversary celebrations for the club last weekend.

Daphne Bailie, who was Lady Captain on two occasions has penned a 72 page history of the club named “Hilden Tennis Club 1923-1983”.

Daphne, who joined Hilden Tennis club while still at school and was to serve the club on various committees for many years, has penned the book, which she simply describes as a record of “times past and memories of happy days, good friendships, tennis tournaments, matches, club play and tennis teams”.

Liberally dotted throughout with photographs of those who represented the club at all levels, it opens with a foreword from the redoubtable Bob Colhoun, who praises the sterling work and many hours of research which has gone into this “absorbing history” and which leaves a valuable legacy for further generations.

It is much more than a record of a tennis club, it is a record of a bygone age, a social history of this part of Lisburn and the role which the William Barbour Linen Thread Company – known throughout the world as the largest linen thread manufacturer in the world – played in deciding to present their salaried staff and overlookers with a recreation facility of four tennis courts and a bowling green “at a very considerable outlay” would be welcomed by many sports today.

The book carries profiles some of those who not only made significant contributions to the growth and development of Hilden Tennis Club but also figured prominently in other sporting fields like Jack Bowden, an Irish hockey player and renowned cricketer in the 1930s and 1940s while Bob McLaurin was President from 1966 to 1990 and Noel Clarke saw massive development at the club during nigh on half a century and in particular the replacement of the old pavilion by the present Racquets Club.

It also pays tribute to the significant fundraising from 1972 onwards with gymkhanas, cake sales, jumble sales which became so popular and the stories told by two youngsters who grew up at Hilden Tennis Club, Rikki Keag and Trevor Woods relate why the club goes from strength to strength today.