A DREAM came true for stalwart Freda Parry as £150,000 worth of new floodlit facilities were unveiled at Helsby Tennis Club.

Freda, the club president, has been at the hub of efforts to keep the club going and now restarted after the former courts were condemned.

The rebirth of the tennis club coincides with the rebranding of the former Helsby Sports & Social Club in Chester Road as Helsby Community Sports Club and just part an exciting plan for the site.

HCSC spokeswoman Michelle Pickstock said: 'Freda has been involved with the tennis club since the early 1970s and, as honorary president, she kept the club going when the courts were condemned and the Lawn Tennis Association wouldn't let us compete.

'She led the campaign to get the courts reopened and the new courts in place.

'It is a dream for Freda, who never thought it would come in her lifetime.'

Described by fellow members as a real character, Freda first took up a racquet at the age of nine and played the circuit in her native Liverpool as a youngster.

She later served Helsby as a player before taking up a behind-the-scenes role.

Michelle added: 'Freda won't give anybody her official age but rumour has it she is in her eighties.

'She lives in Helsby and still coaches the children which is a real passion for her.'

The revamp - incor porating three full-sized all-weather courts, two junior courts plus a practice wall - has been achieved with a grant and interest-free loan from the LTA and a contribution from Helsby Parish Council.

Newly-appointed part-time tennis club coach Gary Ward, a former Surrey county player and ex-Wimbledon junior, is taking club nights on Tuesdays and Fridays.

He also offers private coaching sessions by appointment.

The coach said: 'I enjoy coaching at all ability levels and with all ages and believe in a rounded, holistic approach to teaching both the inner and outer game of tennis.'

* Contact chairman John Burke on 07970 267550 with any membership inquries and Gary Ward on 07836 273271 for coaching details/bookings.