ASH Baker, the head coach of First Service Baker Tennis Academy in Witham, has had a great start to the year with it being voted the LTA’s Essex Club of the Year.

Set up 18 months ago in Witham, at Maltings Academy, the academy has gone from strength to strength with a growing member base and great successes in the local county leagues for their junior teams.

The academy has won this prestigious LTA award for its growth, community feel and relationship with members, its facility development programme, the high-quality squad programme and coaching on offer to members and the strength the club is already showing in competition.

The LTA commented on the exceptional contributions made at the grassroots level of our sport.

Baker was thrilled with the nomination and win.

He said: “It’s really wonderful to see your hard work and vision for a community club recognised so highly by others.

"I’ve always been passionate about engaging people in activity and developing in them the love of tennis I have.

"We’ve worked hard at the academy to create an inclusive, motivating and welcoming environment and winning this award shows we are on the right track.

"I’m thrilled and very proud.

"Young or old, new to tennis or an experienced player, all are welcome to come and join us and enjoy the wonderful game of tennis as much as we do.”

The club now goes through to the LTA's shortlist for Regional Club of the Year.