Freeport, Grand Bahama – “Thank you, thank you, thank you” were the words expressed by Sir Jack Hayward as the Grand Bahama Port Authority Honourary Chairman and YMCA Executive Board member officially opened the YMCA tennis courts in Grand Bahama on Tuesday.
The four International Tennis Federation regulated courts are now open to the public. “It really is unbelievable,” said Sir Jack. “I can’t thank you enough for your generosity. The way you raised the money to put this together…I am overwhelmed.”
Sir Jack was joined at the event by Mrs. Patti Bloom, Henry St. George, Vice-President of the GBPA, YMCA Board Members, the local business community representatives and Karon Pinder-Johnson, YMCA Manager and staff.
“This is exactly what we needed,” said Godfrey ‘Gully” Bowe well known veteran tennis coach, who will run the courts along with Larikah Russell. “We know that we don’t have any proper tennis facilities here, so this is going to boost our sport!”
Gully went on to add that he and his co-coach, Russell, will be working on establishing a junior programme at the YMCA courts, which he feels is another great avenue for kids for possible further education and travel.
Speaking at the event was Kris Lehmkuhl, who helped plan and organize the new facilities. He has also been intricately responsible for the establishment and the running of the YMCA SOS (Swim for Ocean Survival) program for the last 5 years. “These courts give residents of all ages a new way to interact with one another. It’s a game for all ages and brings people together in a vibrant and healthy atmosphere.”
Traveling from Nassau for the event was Derron Donaldson, immediate past president of The Bahama Lawn Tennis Association (BTLA) and Bahamas Olympic Committee Vice President. Donaldson, a tennis pro himself, noted, “Tennis has been stagnant in Freeport for a long time. During my presidency we struggled due to funding, however now with Kris, Craig and the Port’s help we hope to revitalize our sport here. We are hoping others will join us to keep it vibrant and we hope it can also bring economic benefits with local and international tournaments.”
To learn more about the YMCA and its various programmes visit their website at http://www.ymcabahamas.com or visit the facilities. Tennis players of all ages and levels are welcome to come and join in the fun!
All Thumbs Up for the YMCA Courts
The new Tennis Team, Godfrey ‘Gully’ Bowe, Larikah Russell and Kris Lehmkuhl.
Patti Bloom cuts the ribbon and declares the courts open at the YMCA. Pictured left to right are, Karon- Pinder Johnson, YMCA Manager, Josepe Darvleiie, YMCA Board Member, Kris Lemkhul, Donor, Darron Turnquest, Director of Youth, Sir Jack Hayward and Mrs. Patti Bloom, Derron Donaldson, VP Bahamas Olympic Associationa and Craig Symonette, Donor.
(Photos courtesy of Derek Carroll for Barefoot Marketing)