A woman who was behind the building of a new tennis facility in Grantham and its success has been made an MBE in the New Year Honours list.
Lianne Tapson, 50, has been awarded the honour for her services to sport and the community.
Lianne became chairman of Grantham Tennis Club about ten years ago. She set about plans to expand it and her drive resulted in a new £3.2 million facility at Arnoldfield opening in 2014. It has since become a hugely successful club open to everyone and remaining a true community facility.
Lianne, a mother of three teenagers, said of her award: “It was a total surprise. It was a shock. But I am absolutely made up. I have not quite got over it. I have had lots of congratulations from lots of people.”
She added: “The tennis club was a huge project. There were lots of negotiations and lots of generosity. Everybody who worked on it went beyond what was asked of them. We were novices and people went out of their way to help us.
“The amount of people at the club is fantastic and there has been a big increase in participation including the over-60s which continues to grow.”
Lianne said the club was accessible to all and there was a thriving participation by the disabled and those with learning disabilities.
Lianne said: “A lot of minority groups have excelled at the club. We are open to the public, not just members. I think keeping the club accessible is key. I hope we have kept the friendly spirit we all worked for. I am very proud.”
Lianne plays lots of senior tennis herself and not only has she helped to ensure £2.5 million of funding was given to the club, but she has forged relationships with other sports clubs, coached the juniors and even worked behind the bar.
The club has a cafe run by Mencap where people with learning disabilities work. It hopes to support those with learning disabilities at this year’s Special Olympics.
Lianne has also overseen the development of Totem Giving at the company where she works, Totemic. This has donated £1.5 million to charity in the past three years. It was instrumental in setting up Inspire+, a sports charity which has supportedthe development of PE in schools, and sport and leadershipfor the benefit of young people.
Grantham Tennis Club manager Sarah Patton said: “It’s amazing news. The Facebook page has been inundated with congratulations to Lianne from the club and the tennis community, and Andrew Castle has Tweeted as well! It’s a really good start to the New Year.”