Whitehall coach Yvonne Dennison has retired aged 88 after spending nearly 50 years with the Chingford club.
Dennison took up tennis at the relatively old age of 29 and has since fulfilled almost every role at Whitehall.
Match secretary for the past 48 years, Dennison was also club secretary for 30 years and South West Essex League results secretary for three decades.
Coaching has been her true passion though, overseeing the early stages of countless players’ careers.
Dennison’s service to the club was recognised at a special presentation attended by around 100 members, past and present.
Players such as former Wimbledon competitor Mandy Wainwright and Kevin Harris began at Whitehall, while many other county players learned their first strokes under her tutelage.
Her conveyor belt continues too, in the shape of last year’s men’s singles champion Jack Flood.
Reflecting on nearly half a century of service, Dennison said: “The highlight of all my time at Whitehall is watching the youngsters come through. Clubs won’t survive without juniors coming through and I’m proud of how many started here and how many still continue to play here despite bigger clubs in the area.”
Multiple men’s singles champion Andy Walker spoke of her contribution: “Her dedication and commitment to coaching is quite amazing.
“I always remember when I first walked through the gates all those years ago and all four courts would be full of youngsters while others would be knocking balls against a sponge ball back and Yvonne even had others playing on the forecourt. For juniors then, Whitehall was the place to be.”
Despite handing over the coaching baton, Dennison is still an active presence at the club.
A formidable player during her day, Dennison won the South West Essex singles title on three occasions.