Tributes for popular tennis club coach

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A POPULAR tennis coach who lived and breathed the game and was well-known on the county circuit has died aged 75.

John Mayo passed away at his home in Sedlescombe Road North after suffering from ill health in recent years.

A funeral service was held last month at St John the Evangelist Church in Upper Church Road in St Leonards.

Mr Mayo ran the Maylands sports shop on the seafront until the early 1990s.

In 1968 he joined Amherst Tennis Club and went on to be head coach for 24 years.

He also coached in many local private schools including Battle Abbey, Claremont, Vinehall and Bodiam Manor.

In 1980 Mr Mayo became a member of the Sussex Lawn Tennis Council where he organised the county draft for promising children aged eight to 12.

In 1984 he was awarded the Erca Hellyer award for outstanding contribution for services to sport in Hastings.

Five years later he became the first person to be appointed by the Lawn Tennis Association as the Sussex county development officer.

In 1991 he became the county secretary, a post he held for 21 years until his retirement last year.

Mr Mayo played at South Saxons Hockey Club and was an umpire for several years. He was also a member of St John the Evangelist Church choir for more than 40 years.

Former head coach at Amherst Tennis Club and friend of Mr Mayo, Mark Barham, said: “John lived and breathed tennis.

“He was well-known on the local circuit and inspired many people to play the sport. He was a great coach, very charismatic and very well respected.

“He will be sorely missed and has left behind very big boots to fill.”