REBECCA TRAYNOR: Popular badminton club is still going strong
The 0900 Badminton Club was started 34 years ago by founder members Maggie Nobes, Steve Black, Cath Corbett and the late Mervin Beckingham.
The four played at West End Badminton Club, in St John’s Church Hall, Fareham.
One day they decided to book a court for 9am on a Saturday morning at HMS St Vincent Leisure Centre, Gosport.
Within two years, a dozen regular players had joined the group and in 1984 a suitable name for the non-league club was chosen through a poll.
The name 0900 Badminton Club was chosen as the name associated with the 24-hour clock of the Royal Navy, as St Vincent was formally a naval training establishment for many years.
Mervin, known as Becky, was based at HMS St Vincent during his early navy days.
By the mid-1980s the membership had increased to 20, playing over three courts. In 1987 membership increased to 24.
Between 1990 and 1993 no fewer than 20 new faces joined the sessions with the membership peaking at 26, a club record.
In April 1993, St Vincent College took over the management of the leisure centre from Hampshire County Council.
In 1992 Becky decided to retire from the club aged 78.
He was followed by Maggie, in 996, and Cath in 2000.
It left one founder member, Steve.
At the start of the new millennium eight players joined the club, and in 2001 attendances were such that on a number of occasions all four courts in the sports hall would be in use.
In July 2001, a club record attendance of 19 was recorded.
By the time the club celebrated its 20 years there were 19 players on the books.
Now celebrating 34 years, the 0900 Badminton Club has 16 members and they are looking for new ones to join them on a Saturday morning from 9am to 10am.
It is social badminton and there is no upper age barrier, although players need to be over 18 and own their own racquet.
The oldest player is Bill Guest, 82. The youngest members are in their 20s.
The first induction session is free, and then it is £2.50 a week.
If you are interested in joining, either e-mail [email protected] or just turn up on a Saturday morning at St Vincent Leisure Centre sports hall at 9am and ask for Steve Black.
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Rebecca Traynor is from Fareham and runs Traditional Fish and Chips