A popular squash club is on the move to a new base.
Academy Squash has been based at Huddersfield Rugby Union Club’s Lockwood Park but will leave by the end of January.
The club is run by squash coach Malcolm Pickup who started it 17 years ago as a section of the rugby club.
Malcolm, 72, said: “We just can’t afford what we are expected to pay now and I don’t want to take it on as a business as all the other costs and responsibilities will also land on me.
“It’s sad we have to leave really as we’d turned it into a squash oasis with everyone made to feel very welcome whatever their age or standard.”
Back in 2006 the rugby club was looking at closing its two squash courts but over the years the squash club has survived and thrived under Malcolm’s guidance.
Malcolm contacted Huddersfield Lawn Tennis and Squash Club in Edgerton where he used to coach several years ago and they have welcomed Academy Squash with open arms so they are moving there.
The club has five courts which means Malcolm can continue with his training sessions on the usual days and times.
He said: “The club has gone out of its way to help us and has been very understanding. We’ve now virtually moved out of Lockwood and will be totally gone by the end of January.”
Academy Squash has around 100 members and their membership will be honoured until August 31 – the end of their membership year – when they will have the chance to join Huddersfield Lawn Tennis and Squash Club.
Academy Squash has run up to six teams in the past – four men’s and two women’s in the Kirklees and Calderdale League – but now only has one men’s team.
Malcolm led a fundraising campaign back in 2010 for a mezzanine viewing area at Lockwood so spectators could see both courts. It was paid for by a £35,000 grant from English Squash, £20,000 from Kirklees Council and the squash club raised £27,500.
Malcolm started playing squash in 1972 and became a coach in 1976. He played to Yorkshire Premier standard and won the Kirklees Championship in 1985.
He was the health and safety manager at the John Smith’s Stadium for several years.
Malcolm has run three London marathons, several half marathons and in 1972 ran 200 miles from London to Huddersfield in a week to raise money for Cancer Relief.
This was in memory of British athlete Lillian Board who won the silver medal in the 400m at the 1968 Mexico Olympics but sadly died two years later from cancer.
Other squash venues in the Huddersfield area are at Honley, Skelmanthorpe and Mirfield.
Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.