Fiona Jones looking forward to her new role as chair of Tennis Shropshire

Fiona Jones says it is a huge honour to have been appointed chair of Tennis Shropshire.

Fiona has stepped up from vice-chair to lead the organisation after Simon Jones completed his three-year term as chair.

Simon is now Lawn Tennis Association councillor for Shropshire, a role held for the last three years by Bob Kerr, who contributed so much to tennis in the county and sadly passed away in December.

Reflecting on her appointment as Tennis Shropshire chair at the recent AGM, Fiona said: “It’s a mixture of excitement, enthusiasm and trepidation - it’s a huge honour and a big responsibility.”

Fiona is looking forward to visiting the county’s many tennis clubs to meet volunteers who play such an important role in the popularity of tennis in Shropshire.

A member of Tennis Shropshire’s management committee for more than 10 years, she also remains heavily involved at Market Drayton Tennis Club, the club closest to where Fiona lives in north Shropshire.

Currently on the club’s committee, Fiona has served as chair, secretary, ladies captain and safeguarding officer at Market Drayton.

As she settles into her new role with Tennis Shropshire, Fiona said: “With all the excellent work done by Simon and Bob, tennis in the county is in a very good place. 

“We are very lucky to have great clubs in the county, from our big indoor centres to our long established mid-sized clubs and our many small two-court village clubs. 

“The common factor across all of these is the hard work and enthusiasm which both volunteers and coaches put in, day in and day out, to make tennis such a success in Shropshire.

“Coming from a small club myself, I’m very firmly rooted in grassroots tennis and I know how difficult it can be for volunteers to keep clubs going. However, I know that club tennis has to run alongside performance tennis and the wider aspirations of the LTA to grow tennis participation right across the community. 

“I am really looking forward to getting more involved in the broad spectrum of tennis activities in Shropshire.  

“Particularly exciting for me is the development by Tennis Shropshire of the two-court indoor Cathie Sabin Community Tennis Centre, which is currently under construction on the site of The Shrewsbury Club and is due to open in May. 

“Bob Kerr was hugely instrumental in getting this off the ground and its opening will be a fitting legacy for his hard work.”

Originally from Kinross in Scotland, Fiona has lived in Shropshire for a number of years.

She has always loved tennis, playing the sport from an early age, and enjoys spending as much time as possible on court.

“I played tennis intensively for two or three years as a teenager,” she said. “Once I went to university and then got a job, I only played once or twice a year.

“When our daughter was aged about five, she started to play mini-tennis. I asked if there was anything like it for adults at Market Drayton and from that, I became involved with the tennis club.

“One of the biggest regrets I have is all those years that I didn’t play because it’s such a big part of life now. I love the enjoyment I get from tennis.”

A project director specialising in building new hospitals, Fiona is now semi-retired, which means she will have more time to devote to her busy role.

She said. “With being semi-retired now, the timing is good, as it means I’ve got more time that I can put to tennis related activities and to getting out and about to meet people, which I’m looking forward to.

“I’m also keen to hear from anybody who has an interest in getting involved with the county, or has suggestions about what we could be doing better.”   

Simon Jones added that Fiona will be an excellent chair for the county.  

He said: “When I became chair, Fiona was my first choice, not just to be my vice-chair, but I knew she would also go on to be a fantastic chair as well.

“Her understanding of club tennis and how clubs run is second to none.

“She has a lot of experience of that with all the work she’s done on committee with Market Drayton Tennis Club.

“Her love and passion for tennis is fantastic and I have no doubts she will be an excellent chair for Tennis Shropshire.” 

Pictured: Tennis Shropshire’s new chair Fiona Jones and Simon Jones, her predecessor in the role.