Soroptimist International – Gill Smith Memorial Trophy

and District Soroptimist Club President, Nicola Harding, has presented the Gill Smith Memorial Trophy to Niamh Owens.

Niamh Owens said:

It is a pleasure to award the Gill Smith Memorial Trophy to Niamh. The trophy is a fitting tribute to one of our members who loved tennis and I am sure, she would have been proud that this is being awarded for the Best Girl Improver.

The Harrogate and District Soroptimists established the Gill Smith Memorial Trophy for Best Girl Improver in memory of a friend and fellow Soroptimist of their Club. Gill played a lot of tennis (her father was a Cambridge blue who played at Wimbledon). When she came to Harrogate she joined the Spa Tennis Club. It was there that she met her husband.

Matt McTurk, Head Coach at the Harrogate Spa Tennis Centre, said:

Niamh was put forward for the award because she has shown a real enthusiasm and love for tennis since she started being coached and playing tennis with us over a year ago.

You will often find Niamh practicing at the club outside of coaching time and she has recently started to enter tournaments where she is keen to improve her ranking within Yorkshire. She is also keen to help others, and if she doesn’t have a tournament, is regularly at the club on a Saturday morning, to help younger children to improve their tennis.

It has been good for the younger juniors to see Niamh in this role and for them to see how Niamh has improved her game over the last year and grown in confidence, to where she is now playing tournaments across Yorkshire competing against some of the best players in the County.

President Nicola Harding; Eilidh Owens, Niamh Owens, Matthew Owens, Matt McTurk, Maureen Ingleton (a member of the Harrogate & District Soroptimist Club)
President Nicola Harding; Eilidh Owens, Niamh Owens, Matthew Owens, Matt McTurk, Maureen Ingleton (a member of the Harrogate & District Soroptimist Club)

Matthew Owens, Niamh’s father said:

The Gill Smith Memorial Trophy for Best Girl Improver, is a fantastic way to encourage such continued participation in tennis and we are absolutely certain it will spur Niamh on to achieve more.

The Harrogate and District Soroptimists’ Club has members from throughout the Harrogate District area. They meet twice a month on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday evening, at the White Hart Hotel in  Harrogate at 7.30pm.

Soroptimist International is a world wide women’s organisation which aims to make a difference to, and improve the lives of, women and children locally and globally.

For more information about the Harrogate & District Soroptimists’ Club and how to become a member visit or email

The Harrogate Spa Tennis Centre Originally formed in 1947as Spa Tennis Club, Harrogate Spa Tennis Centre, based at Claro Park on Claro Road, has 6 courts with floodlights. The aim, with funding, is to develop the site to provide four indoor courts and a clubhouse.

All abilities and disabilities are catered for, with the youngest player being 4 years old and the most senior having celebrated his 90th birthday this summer. There is also wheelchair tennis and various inclusive programmes so that all can enjoy this social sport.


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