Tribute to a charming lady who played tennis at 90

Pauline Lane and the Bexhill Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club
Pauline Lane and the Bexhill Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club

Members of Bexhill Tennis Club have paid tribute to a lifelong club stalwart who recently passed away at the age of 92.

Pauline Lane died last week following a short illness and was a born and bred Bexhillian.

Pauline joined the club in 1930, as a junior member, aged just eight and seven years later she won the mixed doubles against some serious competition.

The Bexhill Cricket & Lawn Tennis Club, as it was then known, played on what are now the playing fields of St Richards School in Dorset Road.

Pauline recalls that in the years between the wars, lawn tennis was among the most popular of seaside resort attractions, and Bexhill catered admirably for devotees of the game.

During the 1930s the Bexhill Tennis Club courts provided the setting for the British inter-county championships as well as an open tournament. Teams included Buckinghamshire & Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire & North Wales and the open tournament attracted many well-known players such as Dan Maskell and Fred Perry and also included some from overseas.

Born and bred in Bexhill, Pauline has lived here all her life except for a period during and immediately after WWll when she served in the RAF.

By the time she returned to Bexhill the tennis club had returned to its original site in Egerton Park where courts were first laid down in 1888, and where the club remains actively playing today.

Club Chairman, Hilary Rhodes, said: “Pauline would be remembered for her cheerful smile and charming good grace both on and off the court. It’s difficult to visualise her driving a three-ton truck through Central London during the war, but she did. Clearly the Bexhill sea air and regular tennis kept Pauline fit and well until the end. She will be missed by all in the Club who knew her”.

Keith Rhodes, the club’s tournament secretary added: “She was one of the most charming members of the club. In the eight or nine years that I’ve known her and been a member of BTC, I’ve never heard a cross word, nor a criticism, just a cheery smile and an encouraging “oh well done”.

“She was bright, alert and lucid till the end. She will be really missed by everyone.”