Prestigious LTA award for Shropshire’s Clive Knight

Shropshire’s Clive Knight has received a prestigious award from the Lawn Tennis Association.

Clive, who has devoted so much time in a voluntary and professional capacity to tennis over more than 40 years, has been presented with a LTA Meritorious Service Award.

It’s further recognition for Clive after he received the 2018 Tennis Shropshire British Tennis award for lifetime achievement last November.

Currently the chairman at Oswestry Team Tennis, Clive received his latest award from Shropshire’s Cathie Sabin, the former LTA president and a long-time friend, at Birmingham’s Edgbaston Priory Club during the Nature Valley Classic. 

As a further acknowledgement of his dedication, Clive was also invited by the LTA to Wimbledon to be a guest at the president’s lunch during last month's Championships.

"I’m very proud to have received the award,” said Clive, who lives in Dudleston Heath, north Shropshire. "Many thanks to Bob Kerr for putting my name forward.

“It’s an award which I’m very proud of, but without all the people supporting me over so many years, it would not have been possible. My wife, Sally, has been hugely supportive right from day one.

“Cathie Sabin pointed me in the right direction almost 40 years ago, so it was very nice that she should be the one presenting me with the award.

“Cathie’s done incredibly well in her tennis career, so it was very fitting that she was at Edgbaston, along with some amazing volunteers from their areas also winning this award.”  

Clive initially volunteered at Criftins Tennis Club, his local club, in 1976 to help club activity and encourage his own children to take part in the game.  

His ongoing enthusiasm as a volunteer, coach and competition organiser, has since helped attract many people to tennis.  

Clive was club chairman at Criftins from 1981-84, while he formed the North Shropshire Junior Tennis Association, which ran from 1983-1997, and provided tennis opportunities for youngsters across the region. 

“Starting off as a volunteer at Criftins gave me a buzz,” said Clive. “The volunteers all worked very well together and we raised £20,000 between 1982 and 1984 to resurface and floodlight the courts.” 

Volunteering in several roles at local, county and regional levels led to Clive seeking employment with the LTA, which proved successful, and he was county development officer for Shropshire from 1996 to 2007, a role he greatly enjoyed.  

As he performed his day to day duties for the LTA, Clive continued in a voluntary capacity with Criftins and was appointed chairman for the second time from 2009-2012. He also assumed the role of volunteer junior competition organiser. 

On leaving the LTA in 2007, Clive was appointed sports development officer for Telford & Wrekin Council, helping to ensure that all sports provision, tennis included, was improved. 

Clive successfully secured funding to renovate tennis facilities across three park sites, featuring 10 courts, including the introduction of the first floodlights in Telford.

While still involved heavily at Criftins, Clive worked alongside Stephen Welti and the late Mike Markham from 2007 to evolve Oswestry Team Tennis a junior priority tennis club based in Cae Glas Park, Oswestry.

Starting with around 50 juniors, OTT now has in the region of 200 members and focuses on providing coaching and competition. Clive enjoys his involvement with the club, his main focus these days, and has taken on the roles of treasurer, trustee, coach and currently chairman. 

He is actively involved in all aspects of the organisation of the club, from fundraising to improving facilities through to helping on court.  

Clive approached Oswestry Town Council in 2013 to suggest a sports festival based in the town, resulting in the introduction of Oswestry Community Games, which attracts up to 1,000 people, with tennis among the featured sports.  

Clive has also been a stalwart supporter and volunteer for the county over the years, including committee roles. More recently, he has supported Tennis Shropshire’s work in promoting starter competition opportunities for junior players.

Many people playing or volunteering in tennis around the county today is a result of Clive's infectious enthusiasm for the sport.

He follows in the recent footsteps of fellow Shropshire tennis enthusiasts Liz Boyle and Merill Holt in receiving a Meritorious Service Award from the LTA.

Simon Jones, the chair of Tennis Shropshire, added: “Clive has been involved in Shropshire tennis for so many years. His name is known absolutely everywhere and everybody’s got so much respect for what he’s done for the county.

“He’s done a fantastic job for tennis and we’re continuing to see that now at Oswestry Team Tennis. It’s thoroughly deserved recognition.”  

Pictured: Clive Knight received his LTA Meritorious Service Award from Cathie Sabin, Shropshire’s former LTA president.