The work of a North Devon tennis volunteer has been praised at the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) national awards.

Marian Vinall was described as ‘truly inspirational’ by LTA president David Rawlinson as she was announced as a runner up for the Cathy Sabin Volunteer of the Year Award at the LTA Tennis Awards 2020.

Marian is a director of Atlantic Racquet Centre (ARC) in Bideford and sits on the Devon Tennis management committee as the county’s safeguarding officer.

In addition to the two volunteer roles she is a tennis coach, a tennis referee and ARC’s membership director.

Marian was shortlisted for the national award after she won volunteer awards in Devon, followed by the South and South West.

Marian Vinall.Marian Vinall.

She said: “I was blown away and surprised at coming so far when there are so many people who do so much for tennis across the country.

“I was particularly honoured and pleased to do so well in the Cathie Sabin Award category as I knew Cathie and she was an amazing example to us all.

“I am absolutely delighted that safeguarding work was highlighted as this involves so many people, particularly at a club level. It is an award also for them.

“Safeguarding involves putting processes and awareness in place to try to make sure everyone who comes to play at an LTA tennis club is safe, and has a great time.

“I believe this is even more important now as we are seeing many more people after lockdown taking up the sport.”

As well as working to support clubs and venues across the county with safeguarding, inclusion and diversity, Marian also manages the county’s patrons scheme, is the county’s Wimbledon ballot coordinator, and even looks after ARC’s ‘tennis cat’ – a stray which has made his home at the Bideford tennis centre.