Parkes Tennis Club’s number one man has been nominated for the Tennis NSW 2018 Volunteer Achievement Award.
Hedley Nicholson OAM is one of four finalists vying for the honour which will be announced at the Tennis NSW Awards Dinner on October 25.
Hedley has been the club’s volunteer maintenance man since 1978.
“The place wanted maintenance, it wanted work, it was run down,” he said.
“It needed to be done, so I just hopped in and did it.”
The retired train driver said he has been averaging 15 to 20 hours per week at the club since 1978.
“Before I retired 16 years ago, I was lucky my job allowed me to do it,” he said.
“There is always something to do, it’s like a house, it needs ongoing maintenance.”
Hedley is still an active member of the 300-strong club.
“Tennis a great game, I’m 78 and still play,” he said.
“I’m lucky that I can still play. I play social on Saturday, I’ve given comp away, it’s a bit tough for me, the boys are getting too tough,” he laughed.
When asked what he is most proud of Hedley said “the whole complex”
“It’s lovely,” he said.
“But it’s the same as anything, there are people who look after golf clubs and bowling clubs.
“We couldn’t pay someone here because if we did we wouldn’t have the money to do the work and the improvements we have been able to do.
“I’ve been good to the tennis club, but the tennis club has been good to me.
“I can come here and see what needs doing and do it and then feel as though I’ve done something.
“It’s good for me, otherwise I’d be sitting at home and there’s only so much you can do at home.”
Hedley said he owes a lot to his wife Pauline.
“She allowed me the time,” he said.
“She always said I had to retire at 70 from the tennis club but I’m still poking around here.”
Hedley received an OAM in 2013 for his outstanding service to the sport of tennis, and the community of Parkes.
The whole family will travel to Sydney for the awards evening at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the scene of the first NSW Tennis Championships held back in 1885.