To celebrate the start of Wimbledon later this month, we thought we’d interrogate Bedford’s resident racquet wielder, Neil Frankel.
Neil is Director of Coaching at Riverside Tennis Club on Goldington Road and is a born and bred Bedfordian. He’s worked at Riverside for 20 years, ever since leaving Leeds University with a Human Biology degree. “I’d always played at the Club as a kid and when I came back from University I started helping out part time. It snowballed from there and 20 years later I feel very fortunate to be part of this amazing ‘family.” We met Neil in Fay’s, the new coffee shop at the Club, which is open to non-members and has had a really positive impact on the dynamic of the club. “It’s been a huge change and it’s shown members and non-members how open and welcoming the Club is. It’s really galvanised the ‘club spirit’ because people want to hang around here now and socialise together. We’ve started to get cyclists stopping by at the weekend; that’s never happened before.”
Neil’s job is to run the coaching programme and to oversee all coaching and out-reach. The Club has 10 full time coaches and 50 part time assistants. During term time the Club attracts over 600 players a week, with the numbers rising in the school holidays. “Our ethos is ‘all ages, all abilities, all welcome’. Whatever your standard, we want to offer you the best playing experience,” said Neil. “We have two new indoor courts in the pipeline, we’ve invested in the best quality floodlights and have re-painted the courts to make the ball more visible. We’re always looking at ways to evolve. The legacy of the 2012 Olympics was massive for us and we’ve found people are embracing sport more. Wimbledon fortnight always reignites the passion among latent tennis players and inspires people to pick up a racquet. If you do, come on down to Riverside!”
|Name: Neil Frankel|
|Occupation: Director of Coaching – Riverside Tennis Club|
|Born here or blow in? Born and bred!|
|Best thing about Bedford?
|Best place to get a coffee or cuppa?
Fay’s at Riverside [obviously] but if not there The Kiosk or Spaghetti Johns
Nowhere is open before I get to work on the weekdays but we’ll head to The Embankment on a weekend for a leisurely breakfast outside
|The one place you’d recommend to visitors?
Esquires – to discover new music
|Ever read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress?
|Bedford’s best boozer?
Three Cups, The Welly and The Third Place
Hands down it’s Lance Haggith, who established Sports Traider.
|Ever eaten a Bedfordshire Clanger?
Once was enough.
|Three words that sum up Bedford:
Home, Evolving, Friendly