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Badminton Volunteers Keen to Build On Success

By Simon Parkinson


Volunteer Success


AVON Badminton Association’s devoted volunteers say they are determined to build on the recognition they received at the recent Bristol Post Sports Awards.


An eye-watering 1,000 senior and 500 junior club members regularly take to the badminton courts under the umbrella of the association throughout North Somerset, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire, performing under the watchful and enthusiastic eye of forty-plus helpers and unpaid coaches.

Avon was shortlisted for Community Club of the Year at the Bristol Post hand-outs and although they ultimately lost out to Longwell Green Junior Football Club at the prestigious Ashton Gate presentations, the acclaim they received did, in the words of long-serving Avon Badminton development officer Penny Shears, give her dedicated team a “welcome boost”.

She said: “Naturally it was disappointing not to win the award and if we’re able to give it another go next year we’ll happily do so.

“Nevertheless it was nice to be recognised in this way as badminton in our region is really thriving and it is very much a community activity enjoyed by men and women, boys and girls of all ages and abilities.


“Last year we ran three senior tournaments and three junior tournaments which attracted hundreds of players. And it’s all organised on a voluntary basis.

“We as an organisation look after 39 senior clubs and ten junior clubs and for the more competitive players we run three senior leagues – Mid Glos, Bristol, and North Somerset – as well as an Avon Junior League, all of which provides 1,268 active members of Avon.”

Penny said of the efforts to provide more badminton opportunities for would-be players: “There’s a big push to introduce more very young people into badminton which nationally is the most popular of the racket sports.


“Badminton England and Avon Badminton Association have recently teamed up with Bristol Sport Foundation and Community Badminton to raise the profile of badminton in Bristol, a priority area to get more young people and adults playing and joining clubs by creating a ‘hub’.

“Part of this project will involve taking badminton into local primary schools using Badminton England’s primary age-focused initiative called Racket Pack."

“Bristol Sport Foundation will be delivering in 17 primary schools over the next academic year, allowing more than 1,000 children to pick up a racket and provide them with the opportunity to join a local club."


“Some of our junior teams have also been very successful. One of our Bristol representatives, St Ursula’s (Westbury-on-Trym), are national junior champions in the under-12 and under-16 age categories and Chew Valley were silver medallists at the same tournament at under-14 level."

 “When it comes to the adult competitors, Avon – we have a first team competing in the Premier Division - are the only county to run six teams in the National Senior Championships which is a tremendous achievement."

“We also have multiple world and European Masters medallists which involve players from the age of 35 up to over 70 representing Avon, which just goes to show badminton in our area really is for everyone and pathways are there to go on and represent your county and even progress to international heights.”


Penny added:  “There are lots of opportunities in the area now for people of all ages to take up the sport, socially and competitively.

 “There are avenues for social badminton through Badminton England’s No Strings initiative for adults which involves simply turning up and playing at local leisure centres (a full list of No Strings sites can be found at


“We’re delighted too that we have gold, silver and bronze medallists at various levels of Para-Badminton for players with physical disabilities."

"So we’re very inclusive and that includes the juniors who can start at four or five years’ old right through to adults up to the age of, in our case, 78!”

Anyone wishing to get involved in badminton can get in touch with Penny by emailing her at or by visiting the Avon Badminton Association website

West of England Masters Silver Tournament 2017


Avon Badminton Association once again ran a successful West of England Masters Silver Badminton Tournament, this year it was back at Bath University which, it is hoped, will continue to be its venue for the future. Bob Hammersley once again led theorganising committee, supported by Joanna Elson and Val O’Neill, and did an amazing job as tournament referee. They were aided by many volunteers from the Avon Badminton community giving their time to help things run smoothly across the 2 days, with a particular mention to Bob Bane for manning the computer and entering results on the day.


Bob and Bob 2

Bob Bane and Bob Hammersley


With nearly 180 players across the 8 age groups from over 35 to over 70, including 33 from Avon, and increased support from the West Country, there were once again some local winners. Saturday’s level doubles saw Kelly Fairey win at Ladies Doubles 35+ with Somerset partner Nicola Harris. Ian Nicholls was runner-up at 55+ men’s doubles with Dav Greatorex (Surrey) only just pipping Paul Chard and Gene Joyner to that spot. Mike Cox and partner Jim Garrett (Kent) won 70+ men’s doubles once again without dropping a game, and the day finished with a win at over 70+ women’s doubles for Joanna Elson and Val O’Neill beating the top seeds in a marathon contest 24-26, 22-20, 25-23.


Kelly and Paul cropped

Kelly and Paul 


Mixed Doubles day was equally compelling with runners-up spots Penny Shears and Bob Bell (Cornwall) at 65+ and Joanna Elson and Ken Tantum (Nottingham) at 70+, but once again Kelly Fairey stole the show making it double gold with mixed partner Paul Freeman (Kent) who won double gold having won at men’s doubles on Saturday.


A few of the volunteers

Some of Sunday's Volunteers

Kent Masters Gold Tournament 2017

Once again Avon were well represented at this top Gold Masters tournament and once again some great results from our local players.

Mike Cox, was the only player from Avon taking part in the singles on the Friday. Playing at 70+, and only losing in the group to his Men’s Doubles partner and top seed, Jim Garrett (Kent), 16-21, 19-21.

Mike and Jim

In the level doubles on Saturday Mike Cox with Jim Garrett at MD 70+, continued their winning streak, going through to the final without dropping a game, then beating the Surrey pairing in the final 21-12, 21-16 to take the Gold medal.

Val O’Neill, playing WD 70+ with Stella Driver (Kent), lost their opening game to World silver medallists Beryl Goodall and Mary Jenner, but finished the group strongly to take the silver medal.

Derek Simmons at MD 65+ with regular partner Chris Hockey (Surrey), were second in their group, only losing to No 1 seeds 16-21, 19-21.

Ian Nicholls, playing at MD60+ with George Joseph (Essex) also did well, only losing in their group to No 2 seeds, 16-21, 21-15, 18-21.

Sunday was mixed doubles day. Val O’Neill at XD 70+, with Grahame Moscrop (Northumberland), won their group without dropping a game including beating No 1 seeds 21-19, 21-18. The final was a tough 3 setter against the No 2 seeds, but having lost the first game they went on to win 16-21, 21-18, 21-16

Val Grahame

Ian Nicholls at XD 60+ with Jenny Cox (Surrey ) topped their group but lost their semi-final to No 2 seeds 22-24, 14-21.

Debbie Burrell and Nigel Birkitt, at XD 60+, only lost to the top seeds.

Gene Joyner, playing XD 55+ with Maureen Kleijwegt–Oskam from Amersfoot (Holland), won their group but lost the semi-final to No2 seeds 19-21,15-21.

Also playing at Kent were Nigel Birkett, Debbie Burrell, Paul Chard, Viv Edwards, Shirley Green, Richard Irvine, Cath Jowett, Derek Simmons.

Calling all coaches, volunteers, individuals and those interested in joining Avon Coaching Academy!
If you are a qualified coach; looking to become a qualified coach; interested in starting or maintaining voluntary roles and opportunities; or an individual who loves badminton please take 5 minutes out of your day to fill in this questionnaire:
Avon has a large and thriving badminton scene, to sustain the activity the county relies upon a number of coaches, officials, and volunteers. To help sustain this we are looking at setting up an Avon Coaching Academy! For more details and to express your interest please, fill in this form:

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