College student and tennis coach becomes youngest ever member of LTA council

A LEADING light in Welsh sport and politics has become the youngest ever council member of the national governing body for tennis.

Coleg Cambria learner Jonathon Dawes, from Rhyl, was among a group of seven people appointed to the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) Council.

Student President at the college’s Deeside Sixth Form Centre, the 18 year-old is thrilled to have been selected for the prestigious position.

“To be the youngest ever councillor in the LTA’s 133-year history is a huge honour,” said Jonathon.

“Tennis has been a large part of my life for many years and encouraging more people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved, get fit and enjoy the sport is my main aim.

“The LTA is focused on diversity and inclusivity and I am looking forward to helping them reach out to the tennis stars of the future.”

LTA President David Rawlinson added: “We are making progress on our commitment to embed inclusion and diversity throughout what we do, and these appointments will help us continue that.

“The councillors collectively bring with them a diverse range of experience and views that will be of real value to us in our work to achieve our vision of opening up tennis and making it a sport for anyone, no matter their age, background, gender or ability.

“We welcome them to the LTA and are looking forward to working with each of them over the course of the coming years.”

A former member of the Welsh Youth Parliament, Jonathon has been lauded for his work and community spirit before and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was named a Positive Role Model in the National Diversity Awards 2020, became head coach at Rhyl Tennis Club, won Denbighshire Sports Coach of the Year and received a British Citizens Youth Award.

A Sport Wales Platinum Ambassador, he set up inclusive tennis sessions for wheelchair users and even put on a Tennis Skills week at Rhyl High School, giving more than 1,000 children the opportunity to participate.

Currently in the final year of A Levels in Government and Politics, Economics and PE, he said: “It has been an amazing couple of years and a real privilege personally to have received so many accolades, but ultimately, I just wanted to help people, especially during lockdown.

“I am dedicated to being a positive role model and a strong voice for young people and will continue to fight for the rights of others, both in my position within sport and politics, but also for all youngsters in Wales and beyond.”

Coleg Cambria chief executive Yana Williams added: “We are proud of Jonathon for his enthusiasm and efforts to support people of all ages, here at the college and in his community.

“He is a fantastic ambassador for Cambria, and we wish him every success in his new role with the LTA; I’m sure he will continue to have a positive impact in bringing the sport to a new audience and encouraging more youngsters and people of all backgrounds to participate and get active.”

For more news and information from Coleg Cambria, visit www.cambria.ac.uk.

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