IF Peter Penny had to take a guess, he would say he has played with Haven Tennis Club for five decades.
“I’m 64 now and I started playing in the under-16s for two years, so I think it’s probably 50 years at the club,” he said.
Penny started playing tennis after watching his parents on court with their friends.
“In my junior days my parents played out here, and I played with them for a few years,” he said.
“It was when they started playing that I started.”
Penny said the people around the club made it a great place to be, and kept him coming back each year.
“There are good people here at the club,” he said.
“I started with Sue Exell and we have been there ever since.”
Penny was president of the club in 1999, and more recently served as treasurer.
His proudest moment was when the club honoured him with a life membership.
“I was pretty chuffed when they made me a life member in 1999,” he said.
“That was a big thrill. It’s not something that you ever strive for, and it just came out of the blue.”
Along with the life membership, Penny has a walkway – the Peter Penny Walk – named after him at the Haven tennis courts.
“It’s the recognition by your club that is the most important,” he said.
Penny has overseen Haven’s relocation to its current position next to the primary school, an achievement he is delighted with.
“I always prided myself with being the initiator when we relocated the courts, and working on all the projects out here,” he said.
“To see what we’ve got now, which is an absolutely top-class facility – probably one of the best in the area – I’m really proud of that.”
Penny hopes to see more juniors get involved and stay at the club for many years, but he admits those sorts of players are becoming harder to find.
“It’s excellent to see the amount of juniors that play tennis out here, but a lot of them don’t stay. They have schooling and work commitments,” he said.
However despite that, Penny believes the club is in a healthy position, and he is excited for the future.
“We draw players from a really huge area here,” he said.
“We have hundreds of juniors playing tennis. The feeling is good around the club.”
As for Penny, he is still playing this year, but for the first time he is starting to feel those 50 years catch up with him.
“I’m still playing A Grade this year,” he said.
“I’m struggling, but that’s an age thing.”