Issie serves up girls-only tennis tournament
When youngster Issie Manley-Williams found she was the only girl in her age group at Southport's Hillside Lawn Tennis Club she decided to do something about it.
So the 11-year-old rallied together with her parents and the club to find some new playing partners.
She decided to host a tournament just for girls at Hillside LTC, planning the whole event and even contacting tennis manufacturers Head, who donated prizes in the form of racquets and balls (right).
“I was inspired to organise the tournament because there are not enough girls playing tennis at a local level and I also wanted more girls to play at Hillside,” said Manley-Williams.
With the help of her parents and the North Sefton Schools Sports coordinator, the event attracted 62 girls from seven local schools along with eight of their teachers.
Hillside LTC club chairman Rob Hemmings said: “It was a brilliant atmosphere and the event introduced quite a few girls to the excitement of a mini tennis competition.
“We now expect that it will become an annual tournament.”
Every participant received a certificate and information about how to get involved in tennis at the club.
“A few girls have already started to play regularly as a direct result of Issie’s efforts.
“Issie has shown so much enthusiasm and commitment and we have recommended her for Tennis Leaders training in the future,” added Hemmings.
“It has been a really exciting – although exhausting – time for the club.”
Issie started playing tennis at the age of eight but has only recently launched herself into the world of competition.
“I have enjoyed playing for Hillside Juniors and have also been selected to play some adult matches too, which have been great fun,” she said.
“It can be challenging being the only girl but I have always felt part of the team at Hillside and the boys are supportive and fun.
“I am very pleased to say that we now have more girls at the club than we have had for a long time and I have made some good new friends.
“The tournament itself was fantastic – I had great fun. My school, Ainsdale St John’s, came second, which is just as well as it wouldn’t be right to win your own tournament.”
She is now working on her next project, organising a fundraising event to subsidise a defibrillator for Hillside.