Memorial tennis tourney runs this weekend

Honouring the memory of a local woman who had a passion for tennis, the third annual Thelma Smith Memorial Tournament runs this Saturday at the Red Deer Tennis Club.

This year’s event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is in honour of Cor de Ruiter who passed away in 2010 and Ruth Shiels who passed away in 1990.

The day wraps up with a potluck supper at 6 p.m. Members and non-members are welcome.

The tournament will be held with the same format as last year’s event, which was started in memory of Thelma Smith, who passed away in June of 2009. Smith was a dedicated supporter of the Red Deer Tennis Club, and it was decided an annual tennis tourney was a fitting way to honour her many years of involvement as a fan and a player.

Smith was also club president at two times over the years, said Mary Gardiner, who has been a continuous member of the club for about 40 years herself.

de Ruiter and Shiels were both competitive, enthusiastic and keen players in the club, said Gardiner.

Meanwhile, after registration this weekend teams of between four and six players will be made up as evenly as possible and team competition will be organized.

A match will consist of one men’s doubles, one ladies’ doubles and two mixed doubles. Players are expected to be of all levels from advanced to intermediate to beginner.

Those who can’t make it to the tourney are encouraged to attend the potluck supper.

Meanwhile, Gardiner said the event has met with success since its inception – last year, 10 teams took part and about 75 attended the potluck supper.

“It’s been very popular. At any level, players feel like they belong.”

Players are asked to register individually by contacting the club at 403-346-7567 or Mary Gardiner at 403-347-7561.

The Red Deer Tennis Club is a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to promoting tennis and sportsmanship in a club setting. Its history in the City stretches back about 100 years, said Gardiner adding that the first Red Deer Tennis Club members played on courts in the City square.

Membership is consistently more than 200 adults and juniors, from beginners to nationally ranked players.

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