Isle of Man’s Pat Sharp wins Lifetime Achievement Award at 2021 LTA Tennis Awards
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An Isle of Man tennis trailblazer has been crowned a national winner at the prestigious LTA Tennis Awards for her inspirational exploits revolutionising the sport on the island for over half a century.
Pat Sharp, pictured left, has scooped the LTA’s flagship Lifetime Achievement Award after being recognised for her long-term commitment to tennis and showing sustained teamwork and leadership since the 1960s.
Sharp, who first joined Albany Tennis Club in 1962, has enabled Isle of Man residents to consistently enjoy their tennis and demonstrated an open mindset and willingness to adapt as the sport has evolved over the years.
She was announced as the winner by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester at a live-streamed awards ceremony presented by Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leon Smith.
The LTA Tennis Awards are now in their sixth year and celebrate the achievements and contributions of outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players across the country.
And Sharp was hand-picked as one of 16 national winners recognised at the awards ceremony last Thursday, which honoured individuals involved in tennis at grassroots, county, regional and national level.
Sharp has taken a lead role at Albany Lawn Tennis Club for nearly 60 years and has served on Albany’s Committee for all but one year of her membership. She has had a huge impact on tennis - and sport - in the Isle of Man. In 1973, she helped set up the Isle of Man Lawn Tennis Association before later going on to be appointed to the new IOM Sports Council in 1990 and then receiving the LTA Meritorious Service award for services to Manx tennis ten years later.
Her passion for junior tennis has inspired thousands of children to pick up a racket while her fundraising efforts have led to a new clubhouse and the Isle of Man’s first indoor tennis court.
Nominations were drawn from over 25,000 volunteers, nearly 5,000 coaches and 1,000 officials, 22,000 schools, nearly 3,000 clubs and over 9,000 LTA approved tournaments, with Sharp recognised for her inspirational work on the Isle of Man.
The quality and quantity of the nominations demonstrate outstanding work that has been done in tennis through the pandemic and David Rawlinson, LTA President, said: “The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive.
“They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.
“The past year has been challenging for everyone, but to see the tremendous positive contributions the nominees have made to the sport and to their communities has been tremendously uplifting.”
National Runners Up
Les Cambridge - Billericay Lawn Tennis Club
Billericay Lawn Tennis Club President, Les Cambridge, has taken on many roles for his club for over 40 years and continues to volunteer many hours of his time. His legacy includes multiple facility and court renovation projects and in 1997 he raised an incredible £900,000 to install indoor courts. He is a strong leader, a great team player and an inspiration to all members.
Paul Hammond - Carisbrooke Lawn Tennis Club
Paul Hammond has volunteered for over 40 years at Carisbrooke Lawn Tennis Club, occupying many roles and is completely “hands on”, fixing everything at the club from leaking roofs to clearing blocked drains. He was the driving force behind major developments such as new floodlights, an Air Dome and three artificial clay courts and still plays to a high standard, winning national titles for the County Vets Team.
LTA Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 – National Shortlist
- Mike Aitken from the University of St Andrews
- Ann Brown from Wales
- Les Cambridge from Billericay Lawn Tennis Club in Essex
- Heather Forrest from Henleaze Tennis Club in Avon
- Paul Hammond from Carisbrooke Lawn Tennis Club in Leicestershire
- Sue Mappin based in Sussex
- Pat Sharp from Albany Lawn Tennis Club on the Isle of Man