A special ceremony has paid tribute to a sports coach whose passion in life was to make an elite sport accessible to all. 

Patrick McDowell founded the Chingford School of Tennis (CST) with his wife Hilary over two decades ago in 1987, but he passed away on June 29 last year after being diagnosed with skin cancer. 

In honour of his death one year on, a teak bench has been unveiled at the club's tennis courts in Rolls Park Sports Ground in Highams Park. 

More than 40 players and supports of the CTS turned up for to pay their respects and participate in a tournament. 

Mrs McDowell, 57, now runs the club and coaching sessions. 

She said: "Patrick was much respected and very much loved by the members and all those who came to play tennis. 

"They wanted to do something to recognise his enthusiasm for the club and his commitment to trying to get more young people involved in tennis.  

"He played as a junior at Wimbledon and dealt with some of the big names in tennis, but his real mission was to make tennis accessible to and enjoyable for ordinary people.  

"He loved teaching older players new skills and watching young talent come through in the classes and at club level."

The memorial bench is situated on court for the use of players, and for parents to watch their children play. 

Mrs McDowell said operating the club since her husband's death has been difficult. 

"The past year has been very sad and a difficult time. 

"I am very grateful to all the club's members and the players who have come to the club regularly and helped support me, allowing the club to thrive." 

For more information about the club, please email  info@ten-ace.co.uk