A lifetime of devotion honoured at Queens Park

MEMORIAL: (Back) Geoff Arnell, Warren Arnell, Lew Cleary, (front) Susan Rheinberger, Emily Arnell, Betty Arnell and Dianne Cleary remembered   Con Arnell.
MEMORIAL: (Back) Geoff Arnell, Warren Arnell, Lew Cleary, (front) Susan Rheinberger, Emily Arnell, Betty Arnell and Dianne Cleary remembered Con Arnell. Leeroy Todd

SUNSHINE, tennis and good friends were the perfect way to remember Col Arnell, one of Gympie's most dedicated tennis players, on Sunday.

The Gympie tennis stalwart, who passed away two years ago, was honoured by 40 players at a memorial day at the Queens Park Tennis Club.

Family, friends and club members joined in a morning of friendly competition, some travelling from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay.

Col's grown children, Geoff , Warren and Jamie Arnell and Diane Cleary all tennis-lovers, played on court, with the exception of Jamie who lives interstate, while Col's wife Betty enjoyed the view from the shade and caught up with old faces.

"It's nice to think so many people thought so much of him,” Mrs Arnell said.

She said tennis had always been a huge passion for Col who had played the game since his early school days, and as an adult in the different towns they had lived.

As a lifetime club member, when his health started to get the better of him, he helped out at the club, Mrs Arnell said.

Tennis Australia director Ken Laffey, a cousin to Col who was back at the club on Sunday for the first time in 40 years, remembered first meeting Col through tennis in the early 70s.

Laffey first ran an Australian hard court championship at the club in 1971, and after becoming one of the most successful open tournaments in Queensland, he was granted the right to run a Queensland and Australia hard court tournament at the club.

His memories of the days when the 12 court facility had only four courts and a grandstand on top, came flooding back along with his admiration for Col.

"He was always very active in the association and devoted his life to tennis.”

Gympie Times

Topics:  australia tennis

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