FRENCH Open tennis champion Shirley Brasher, nee Bloomer, officially opened the new Wantage Tennis Club in glorious tennis weather.

E G Carter & Co Ltd's General Works Team spent 27 weeks at Wantage Tennis Club completing the construction of 4 new LTA Club Competition Standard Tennis Courts. Mrs Brasher, winner of the 1957 ladies' singles title, cut the ribbon at the club's new home at Manor Road Recreation Ground in sizzling summer sunshine.

The club unveiled a plaque in her honour and has even named one of its courts after her.

Club spokesman Mark Rowe said: "Shirley performed the honours of the ribbon cutting and even hit the first ball with an exquisite back-hand, despite being in a suit and heels, to declare our courts well and truly open.

"The sun shone, the Pimm's flowed and the strawberries and cream went down a treat."

More than 500 people visited the club throughout the open day which was also part of this year's Wantage Summer Festival of arts and culture.

Mr Rowe added: "The day was better than I had dared hope for and hopefully, as a result, many more people in Wantage and the surrounding area will be playing tennis and having fun."

The club has built six new courts and a new clubhouse at the recreation ground funded by the sale of its previous courts in nearby Foliat Drive to a housing developer.