Commitment to a good cause.
Belper Meadows Tennis Club enjoys a beautiful setting in the middle of Derbyshire close to the river Derwent on the edge of the Peak District, with a background of rolling foothills of the Pennines. On a sunny summers day it is a very magical place.
However, our position on the river flood plain brings with it a major potential risk – that of flooding.
On the evening of Thursday 7th November 2019 the club was a very different place after days of torrential rain.
By the following morning, and without any prior warning, the river burst its banks and had risen to a level 1.5m above the flood plain, flowing its whole width at Christchurch Meadows inundating the tennis courts and the surrounding car park. The flood water was 50cm above the floor in the new pavilion (completed in 2018), which was built to withstand flooding, with the ground floor 1m above ground level.
Belper Meadows Community Sports Club on Friday afternoon, 8th November 2019
By late on Saturday 9th, the surge of water had abated somewhat and a pump was set up to help drain the water still covering the courts. Sunday morning left the Club staring at a good 20mm of foul slime all over the tennis courts with smaller deposits inside the pavilion.
So when the call for help goes out, that is when any organisation finds commitment from members, their families and friends..
And helpers turned out! Dozens of willing volunteers of all ages gave up their time over the next few days to bring shovels, brooms and wheel-barrows. They generously put in countless hours of slipping and sliding, to barrow away tons of mud in order to find the surfaces of the tennis courts, paths and the car park.
Another team attacked the inside of the pavilion with repeated cleaning of floors, scrubbing of toilets, drying out of furniture.
Sunday night brought more rain;and by Monday more volunteers removed more debris and mud from the courts. Other volunteers repeated the cleaning of the pavilion floors – they look good but we know that more will come out of the woodwork.
So, when there is a crisis, the British will ‘come good’, pull together and achieve mammoth goals.
Very many thanks to the Belper Community Army, for turning round the disaster-zone facilities. Undoubtedly, they showed real commitment to the cause. We are working hard to get back to normal operation as soon as possible and have the facilities functioning as they should be for the whole community. We hope to resume social tennis as soon as possible.
Whilst the club members have been fantastic at clearing what they can, there has been some serious damage that will require professional attention to get back up and running properly. This includes industrial cleaning of the courts, repairing the electrics to the lights, the lift in the clubhouse and buying/fixing equipment that was damaged. The cleaning of the courts and surrounding areas alone is expected to cost in the region of £2,000. A JustGiving page has been created, which has started to see some generous funds already.
Due to the location of the club, we are not insured for any flood-related damage so any contribution is very greatly appreciated.