Big sports weekend lined up to 'bounce back' from pandemic

Three tennis club officials in front of indoor courts

Torquay Tennis Club Club chairman Andy Pelling (left), secretary Kirstin Neilson-Hunter and club manager Steve Maslen preparing for the weekend. - Credit: Submitted

Torbay's sports clubs and lovers are being given the chance to 'bounce back'  from the pandemic with a major sporting event.

The Bay may not be having the 'Red Arrows Display Team this summer but the arrows will be flying over Torquay Tennis courts for a whole weekend as part of the  mini-sports summit and event this month.

Brixham Archery Club, known as Brixham Archers, are just one of the many clubs taking part in celebrations to mark coming out of lockdown in one of the biggest sporting events in the Bay in recent years.

Kirstin Neilson-Hunter, secretary of Torquay Tennis Club, has been overwhelmed by the 'positive reaction' to holding a sporting, health and fun weekend for everyone of all ages. 

Talks were held with Sport Torbay and Torbay Council who gave their full support to the weekend on Saturday July 24 and Sunday July 25.

Kirstin said: "As a result of Covid 19, Torquay Tennis Club wanted to provide an opportunity, as soon as restrictions were lifted, to give something back to the people of Torbay. To give back that hope, laughter and freedom that many people had lost during this time. 

"A 'Bouncing Back' theme emerged and we wanted to take it to a level where the whole of Torbay could be involved and enjoy bouncing back from months of restrictions. 

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"We couldn't have been able to do this event without the support and help from Torbay Council and Sport Torbay, who have been so wonderful. The enthusiasm and positivity from the various clubs has been staggering. The response from everyone has been absolutely amazing."

Andy Pelling tennis club chairman, said: "I know just how hard these past 12 months have been for the clubs, the organisers, the children, the parents, the volunteers and everyone. People have had to endure so much, so now is the time for Torbay to enjoy all that its clubs have to offer." 

The club's 12 outdoor courts are being used for interactive displays and demonstrations for everyone to take part in all activities, including hockey, cricket, rugby, yoga, boxing and Taichi.

Sports event poster

Weekend details - Credit: Submitted

"The club will be open to everyone who wants to have a go," said Andy.

On Saturday July 24, the day will start with an official opening by the civic Mayor Trevor Manning with various dignitaries.

Andy said: "The Torbay Brass Band have very kindly offered their services and will help kickstart the weekend by providing live music and a real sense of occasion to the proceedings and opening ceremony. It will be a weekend of really being together again."

Sharon Hill, secretary of the Brixham Archers will  be there as one of the coaches. She said: "I am so looking forward to being there. Speaking and laughing with everyone. Showing them how to stand across the shooting line, lift the bow, draw back the string, aim at the target, loose the arrow and shoot. Hopefully a direct hit to the target would be great.

"I can't wait to be able to do this in person, to be there, together, in one place, in the same place is just so thrilling. We will be there all weekend aiming at Zombies, 3D zombies and perhaps a bear or two lurking in the shrubbery and of course shooting at target boss."  

Sport Torbay chairman Jim Parker said: "What a great way to bring sport together after such a horrible time. I hope it will be supported by people from across the Bay.

"A huge thanks to the tennis club and to the council. We have been working with the council on 're-setting' and putting sport back on the map after years of neglect. A big part of that is the Torbay on the Move initiative and this weekend fits perfectly with that."

Mike Morey, the councillor in charge of sport, said: "This is a brand new day for sport in Torbay. This event is bringing many different sports together in celebration of our sportsmen and women in Torbay.

"We are determined to put sport at the top of our agenda, not only in celebrating of its social value, but also in the promoting the benefits of taking part in physical activity and its important role in the health and well-being of people of all ages.”