TOWNELEY Community Tennis Club enjoyed a record-breaking turnout as it launched its Tennis For Free programme.

A total of 151 tennis enthusiasts – both young and old – turned up at Queen’s Park courts in Burnley to swing a racket for free.

It was the highest number of tennis players to attend an event organised by national sports charity Tennis For Free since it was launched 10 years ago.

“We were blown away by h0me many people turned up to play tennis,” said Towneley Community Tennis Club head coach Iain Taylor.

“This is something I always wanted to do and to get so many people to turn up and support us was pretty overwhelming.

“Apparently we beat the existing record by 14 which just made the day even better.”

Towneley became the first non city venue to become an official Tennis For Free site and the club has worked closely with the LTA and Burnley Borough Council since it was officially launched earlier this year.

“When we launched the club in April, we had no members but now we have nearly 160. The response has been fantastic.”

At the first Tennis for Free event, the club had four courts in use – one for parents and children, another for nine to 13-year-olds and two for adults and children of a higher ability.

All were enjoying a game of tennis under the watchful eye of Iain and his team of coaches – including son Liam.

It has been a hectic few weeks for Iain and the club, culminating with a trip to Wimbledon, an annual fund raiser for CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) and the Tennis For Free.

Iain and members of the club were invited to attend the Wimbledon cocktail party by the president of the LTA on Friday, returned north to hold its annual CRY event – this time a karaoke fund-raising at Ighten Leigh Social Club.

“It was a wonderful experience to go to Wimbledon and meet some very special people.

“The president of the LTA said a few words about what we are doing at the club which was very complimentary.

“After that it was straight back up to Burnley to hold our CRY event the next day which will hope will raise in the region of £450 but holding the first of our Tennis For Free events on the Sunday.

“It has been extremely busy to say the least,” added Taylor who has also coached at Burnley Tennis Club and Ribchester Tennis Club.

“But I would not have it any other way.!