A veteran tennis coach from Hampshire who has volunteered at the Andover Tennis Club for forty years and trained over 350 young leaders has been named a Point of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Margaret Winnett, 69, started volunteering at Andover Tennis Club in 1975 whilst raising two children and working full-time as a teacher. Her passion for tennis in the decades since has encouraged thousands of people to play tennis, forming a buzzing community in Andover and a generation of tennis enthusiasts.
Margaret is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
Since Margaret started volunteering at the Club forty years ago she has held nearly every role on the Committee including Treasurer, Match Secretary and Press Secretary and became the Club’s Chairman in 1992. During this time the Club has grown from 40 to 275 members, reaching out to more and more young people across Hampshire every year. Now retired, Margaret still dedicates a large amount of her time to the Club, seeing on average 170 juniors a week – many of them the children and grandchildren of juniors she taught in years gone by.
Margaret is also this year working with the National Citizen Service to train 300 more youngsters over a four week period in tennis leadership and volunteering- helping them learn new skills and gain confidence and experience.
Margaret is leading on the relocation of the tennis club to a new site in the area and has led fundraising appeal to raise over £1 million to create six outdoor and two indoor courts by April 2016.
Prime Minister David Cameron said, “Margaret’s enthusiasm, passion and dedication have motivated hundreds more people to volunteer and enabled thousands of young people to play tennis in Andover. It is fitting to recognise her contribution to local tennis while the elite of the tennis world are competing in Wimbledon. And I am delighted to make her a Point of Light.”
Margaret said: “I played at Swanage tennis club when I was younger and having volunteers help me learn how to play inspired me to be a volunteer at Andover Tennis Club. As a retired PE teacher I know how important it is to get volunteering, and I have a very supportive husband who has helped me over the years.”
LTA President, Cathie Sabin said: “Margaret is a stand out example of some of the fantastic volunteers we have working for tennis all over the country. What makes Margaret so special is she has not only demonstrated incredible commitment to tennis and her club as a volunteer for nearly 40 years but is also inspiring the future generation. Having trained over 350 young leaders she is ensuring a volunteering legacy for tennis in her community while also providing the young people a fantastic opportunity to develop their skills. I am delighted that Margaret has been chosen by the Prime Minister as his Points of Light award win.”
Margaret is the 282nd winner of the new Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.
Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.