AN APPEAL to raise nearly £2,000 has been launched by 70-year-old Rossendale Badminton League so it can better support its junior members

The Juniors meet every Sunday morning from 10am to 11.30am at Rossendale Leisure Trust’s Adrenaline Centre in Haslingden and they also compete in matches around the area.

They have three months to raise the money and already £220 has been pledged in the first week.

Secretary Claire Banfield said: “We want to supply T-shirts for our Rossendale Junior Badminton players so they promote the area when they play local tournaments.

“We would also like to supply the players with improved racquets and shuttlecocks, as well as covering the court costs.”

Operations Manager Ross McCowan said: “Traditional sports like badminton are facing a problem whereby the younger generation plays them in school but then opts for Instagram and a gym membership when they get older.

“I think it is a great idea to crowd-fund to make the sport more attractive to younger members and I am grateful that they use our facilities to hold sessions.

“The rise in energy costs is crippling for everyone, including leisure providers, and we have had to pass that cost on.”

The league, established in 1953, is run by two volunteer coaches Nigel Holt and Michael Patterson.

It has produced two former England players and both started playing at Haslingden Youth Club.

Sue Whittaker is a retired ex-Head of PE at Westholme School in Blackburn, played for England and still coaches, while Peter Wood, League president for 50 years, played for Lancashire and still coaches. As a veteran he got into the England team and played in the Masters tournaments all around Europe.

Claire said: “Through promotional posters, which we will distribute to schools and leisure centres, we hope to increase the current number of players who attend the weekly practice, and pay travelling expenses for the volunteer coaches.

“We particularly want to target girls to the practice as the senior league has a shortage of female players, with a view to encourage individual clubs to ‘adopt’ young players.

“We will also organise a local junior tournament, at grassroots level, to help promote the sport within Rossendale.

“The most important thing is to get people backing our cause, whether it is by donating £2, £3 or £5, so that we can show that people in Rossendale support the league.” – Cathrine Smyth Media

Anyone who wants to donate can visit https://www.spacehive.com/promoting-junior-badminton-in-rossendale