New pickleball club set up in Thornbury, Cotswolds, England

Huw Mabe

A new pickleball club has been set up in Thornbury.

The racquet sport is played on a badminton court and also has elements of tennis and table tennis.

But it also has its own idiosyncrasies which make it unique, according to Thornbury Pickleball Club founders Kathy Blannin and Andy Horrell.

Kathy said: “Andy and I have been playing pickleball for a while now and we wanted to start something local so that the people of Thornbury and surrounding area have the opportunity to play this fantastic, social sport.

Pickleball uses a hard bat called a paddle and a hard plastic ball with holes in it. As it is fairly new to the UK, Kathy and Andy have previously had to travel to other areas to play.

They competed and won medals at the first English Open tournament held in Nottingham earlier this year.

“The English Open was a great experience,” said Andy.

“One of the best things is that competitions are bracketed by age and ability. So there are age groups from 19 years old up to over 80. The oldest competitor was 84 years old.”

The club meets at Thornbury Leisure Centre on Monday evenings, with other ad-hoc sessions throughout the week. For more information visit


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