Secret donor’s £8,000 gift for tennis courts revamp

Masham Tennis Club members looking after their courts - which are now to be resurfaced after an anonymous �8,000 donation. From left - Terry Marshall, Kevin Pritchard, Simon Nowaczek, Neil Hutchinson, Paul Baker, Eleanor Baker, Nicky Hignett, Elize Hird and youngest member Alfie Hird (S)
Masham Tennis Club members looking after their courts - which are now to be resurfaced after an anonymous �8,000 donation. From left - Terry Marshall, Kevin Pritchard, Simon Nowaczek, Neil Hutchinson, Paul Baker, Eleanor Baker, Nicky Hignett, Elize Hird and youngest member Alfie Hird (S)
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A MYSTERY benefactor has delighted tennis players by making sure Masham’s courts are in top condition for generations to come.

The anonymous donor has given £8,000 to Masham Sports Association to pay for vital resurfacing on the club’s three courts.

And to make sure tennis is available in Masham in the future, the donor has insisted the club regularly put money aside to maintain the courts.

Paul Baker is chairman of Masham Sports Association. Before the benefactor came forward the tennis players in Masham were facing an uncertain future, he said.

“The state of the tennis courts is becoming pretty dire. The surface is breaking up and little holes are appearing, and resurfacing it is going to cost in the region of £25,000.

“We had saved around £10,000, but until the donor came forward that still left us with a long way to go.”

But with the £8,000 donation and because the sports association is a registered charity and can claim gift aid and recover VAT, they can now afford to go ahead with the resurfacing works.

“We are delighted. Six months ago we were faced with the reality of closing one of our courts, and had already closed one over the winter months to preserve the surface. Without a substantial amount to fundraising we were facing real problems.”

Not content with resurfacing the courts once, the mystery donor insisted the tennis club added an addendum to its constitution to compel them to regularly put money aside to pay for the next resurfacing works.

“As a tennis club you know the courts need resurfacing every 10 to 15 years and try to save for that, but this addendum has safeguarded tennis for Masham and the surrounding area.”

The club held an Extraordinary General Meeting to vote on the addendum, which was passed unanimously by the delighted members.

Despite this, the donor’s identity remains a closely guarded secret.

“There has been lots of speculation, but the donor asked that I don’t any give hints about who they are. I can’t even rule anyone out,” Mr Baker said.