Frances Candy scooped a silver medal playing for a Great Britain veterans’ tennis team in a global tournament.
And at the same time as playing a starring role in the women’s over-55 squad which reached the final of the ITF Seniors World Team Championships, she experienced the New Zealand earthquake which claimed more than 160 lives.
St Leonards-based Candy was in a place called Ashburton which is about an hour’s drive from the New Zealand capital Christchurch - the area worst affected by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake - when it struck.
Great Britain were supposed to have been playing South Africa, but rain during the morning meant there was no tennis until later in the day so Candy was in her motel room at the time.
She said: “It felt like a freight train was going to come straight through our room and then the room just shook. Then we all realised it was an earthquake.
“Some of my team-mates were on court in Christchurch when it happened and they all fell to the ground. Cracks started to appear on the courts and the courts ended up like waves.
“There was a feeling to start with that no-one wanted to play because it was so huge. A lot of people were shaken by it and in fact one men’s team left, but I think it was the right decision to carry on.”
Candy, a bronze medallist for five of the previous six years, won three of her four number one singles matches and two of her three doubles ties in a competition known as the Maureen Connolly Cup.
The full article will appear in tomorrow’s Hastings and Rye Observers.