Anyone for tennis? Serving up some Blackpool school memories.

Elmslie School, Whitegate Drive, Blackpool in 1985
Elmslie School, Whitegate Drive, Blackpool in 1985
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As Elmslie Girls School’s centenary weekend is fast approaching next month, former pupil Mo Pemberton shares her memories:

“Although the sports facilities at Elmslie were not the best – athletics or hockey lessons meant a trip down to Stanley Park – one facility on-site was the tennis courts.

Pupils at Elmslie Girls School, Blackpool, who went on a tennis coaching holiday to Majorca over Easter

Pupils at Elmslie Girls School, Blackpool, who went on a tennis coaching holiday to Majorca over Easter

“Consequently many sporting successes and memories involved tennis.

“With this in mind, as the centenary celebrations approach, it is proposed to hold a tennis fun day with any ex-Elmslie girls who would like to take part.

“This is not just for ex-team players, it’s for anyone at Elmslie.

“Who remembers when Green Shield stamps worked with the LTA through a grass roots programme?

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mrs Margaret Thatcher MP) presented the prizes at the Elmslie School speech day, in Holy Trinity Church, South Shore, in 1970. 'From left: Sarah Buckley (deputy captain), Lynda Newhouse (School captain), Mrs Thatcher, the Bishop of Blackurn Dr CR Claxton, chairman of govenors and the headmistress Mrs E L Oldham

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mrs Margaret Thatcher MP) presented the prizes at the Elmslie School speech day, in Holy Trinity Church, South Shore, in 1970. 'From left: Sarah Buckley (deputy captain), Lynda Newhouse (School captain), Mrs Thatcher, the Bishop of Blackurn Dr CR Claxton, chairman of govenors and the headmistress Mrs E L Oldham

“Elmslie reached the final of a national competition, played at Queens Club. Successes were notched up in the national Aberdare Cup and Lancashire tournaments, as well as inter schools’ matches and inter house matches. Individual girls went on to play for their county and you’ll find many ex-Elmslie girls in clubs around the country. One particularly successful event was a ‘fathers and daughters’ event, for fun at the annual Garden Party. Nobody banked on the competitive nature of the fathers!

“But it wasn’t all about competitive tennis. Every year a trip to the Wimbledon championships would be arranged, and though the girls grumbled they were made to wear school uniform, it was a help in being given a ticket by a member of the public who was leaving early.

“There was never a year when all 40 girls did not get on to Centre Court or Court One to see at least one set. Purple uniforms could be seen dotted throughout the two championship courts!

“Tennis holidays to Spain and Italy were organised, usually over the Easter holidays. There would be coaching, encouragement to speak the local language and of course, fun.”

Elmslie School first class of 1918. 'It was then called Ellerslie and met in the schoolroom of the Baptist Chapel in Forest Gate. Founder headmistress, Miss Elizabeth - pictured, centre, with dark hair, listed as her priorities "spiritual values, loyalty, stability, tradition and helping other people".'They had boys in the kindergarden in those early days.

Elmslie School first class of 1918. 'It was then called Ellerslie and met in the schoolroom of the Baptist Chapel in Forest Gate. Founder headmistress, Miss Elizabeth - pictured, centre, with dark hair, listed as her priorities "spiritual values, loyalty, stability, tradition and helping other people".'They had boys in the kindergarden in those early days.

n To join in or watch the tennis fun day, date to be decided, at St Anne’s on Sea Lawn Tennis and Squash Club, see Elmslie Girls’ Facebook or email mo@dare2change.co.uk