Memorial event for much-loved tennis coach John

A silver birch sapling was planted as a a memorial to popular coach, John Tucker

A silver birch sapling was planted as a a memorial to popular coach, John Tucker - Credit: Priory Tennis Club

A special memorial event was held to celebrate the life of a coach who inspired generations of people to play tennis.

John Tucker was the founder and head coach at Priory Tennis Club for 10 years, and a professional coach for more than three decades.

He passed away in October last year, at the age of 81 and earlier this year, a special event was held at Priory Community School, in Worle, to honour his work in the community.

John's wife, Char, sons Richard and Graeme and daughter Durinda were all present to pay tribute to his memory, along with other members of the family all joined the event.

They were joined by others who had been coached by John in the years past, as well as friends, other coaches and those who had benefited from his tennis life. 

A silver birch sapling was planted near to the tennis courts in memory of Weston resident John and several people spoke about the influence John had on their lives and tennis, including his lifelong friend, fellow coach and former top GB senior squad player, Les Treen. 

John's son Graeme mentioned that at one time all the members of the senior Somerset County team had been coached by his dad. 

Friends and relatives gathered to pay tribute to tennis coach John Tucker

Friends and relatives gathered to pay tribute to Mr Tucker - Credit: Priory Tennis Club

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Former Priory Tennis club coaches Ben Gray and Rich Gwyn were both coached by John when they were children and later encouraged to become coaches themselves, so his influence has spread far and wide and his legacy still continues through others. 

The current coach at Priory Tennis club for the juniors, Simon Holloway, also paid tribute to the encouragement that Ben especially had given in helping Simon relaunch the junior section of the club last summer. 

John's family kindly donated some tins of new tennis balls to the club and will also be presenting a trophy to the club for use in a junior Summer tournament in August, which will be known as the John Tucker Cup. 

Juniors from other local clubs joined Priory Tennis Club juniors on the day. 

"John's vision was to make tennis available for everyone and not just the elite and those with wealth," said a club spokesperson. 

"That is the ethos and vision of the current club at Priory Tennis Club. 

"The motto for the junior section of the club is 'Aspire to Excel' and we currently meet indoors at Priory Sports centre on Monday and Friday evenings for junior coaching and development. 

"We are a friendly social and competitive club who accept all abilities."

For more information, contact the group via its Facebook page, or through the website, at www.priorytennisclub.co.uk 

Youngsters raise their rackets in memory of John Tucker

Youngsters raise their rackets in memory of John - Credit: Priory Tennis Club