A TENNIS group has scored a £50,000 grant to boost its facilities.
Wickham Bishops Tennis Club is celebrating after learning it has been chosen by Sport England to receive the money as part of the 2012 Olympics legacy programme.
Club chairman Graham Lewis-Taylor said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this investment, which means we can upgrade the quality of our pavilion and progress our development ambitions to provide more tennis for more players, all year round."
The club, which was started up in 1976, has more than 300 members and counts England and Essex cricket star Alastair Cook among its former players.
"The club started with a group in the village joining together to play on private grass courts more than 30 years ago, who decided to make the arrangement a little more formal and ever since it has just grown and grown," said Mr Lewis-Taylor.
The money will enable the club to complete its £100,000 new pavilion, which will be used as a communal area for competitions, tennis education, drinks preparation and equipment storage.
The club has managed to raise the remainder of the costs through membership fees and community events but applied for the grant in August of last year in the hope this would allow the scheme to be finished.
The tennis club is one of 310 projects across England to receive a lottery investment from the third round of the Inspired Facilities fund and one of more than 1,000 to benefit overall, with the milestone being achieved one year ahead of schedule.
Witham MP Priti Patel said: "The club does an outstanding job promoting tennis and with a new pavilion they will be able to do more to encourage local people to take up sport.
"This fantastic new facility means my constituents will benefit from the Olympic legacy."