Article by Philip Barker with significant help from Jean Lamb and other.
Bob Lamb, long time Trustee of Mexborough Miners Institute and Recreation Ground (Mexborough Athletic Social Club), recently received the Lawn Tennis Association Meritorious Service Award, nominated by the Yorkshire Lawn Tennis Association backed by the Sheffield & District LTA and his Mexborough Club at the LTA awards ceremony in Roehampton.
For those, like me, who aren’t part of the tennis world the Lawn Tennis Association Meritorious Service Award is the highest honour in the British tennis world.
Now anyone who knows Bob will be aware of his aversion to publicity and cameras so apologies for the photo Bob its the best I could find and I know you didn’t want a fuss but oh well.
Bob has been a key player in the Athletic Club and the wider world of Tennis. Alongside the work he does for Tennis in Mexborough and across Yorkshire he is also a key part of the ongoing development of the Community Campus partnership running the local youth club on New Oxford Road.
Robert Lamb came to Mexborough in 1957 aged fifteen having learnt to play tennis at a junior school in North Lincolnshire. He played tennis with friends on the Mexborough Miners’ Welfare Institute and Recreation Ground and in 1958 reformed the tennis section, playing in the local Mexborough league; having served as Secretary and Chairman he is still its Treasurer.
As a Trustee of Mexborough Miners’ Welfare Institute and Recreation Ground, a rare sports facility in the middle of a very deprived area, Bob and others on the committee dedicate hours of unpaid time to keep the charity financially viable.
In 1962 he attended his first AGM of the Sheffield & District Lawn tennis Association (SDLTA) on behalf of the Mexborough club. In 1969 he was part of a group that amalgamated the Barnsley, Doncaster, Mexborough and Rotherham Tennis Associations into the South Yorkshire Tennis Association and became its President in 1986.
The Sheffield & District Junior League was started by Bob and others in 1975, and a year later he became League Secretary of the Association, a post he held until 2003.
In 1989 he became a member of a Sheffield City Council steering committee for the building of the Graves Tennis Centre in readiness for the World Student games of 1991, the year he became President of the SDLTA for two years and receiving one of the first SDLTA May Medals for services to Sheffield and South Yorkshire Tennis as a whole.
His effort helped our own club, Mexborough achieve “1993 Club of the Year” awarded by the SDLTA for continuing to operate in a very difficult environment.
Joining the Yorkshire LTA Council as one of two Sheffield representatives in 2003, within two years he had taken over the organisation of the Yorkshire Doubles League Competition, continuing with that for the next twelve years.
The year 2011 saw him become a member of the YLTA Management Group, becoming President in 2014. In late 2016 he stepped down after three productive years when the face of Yorkshire Tennis had changed considerably and its reputation considerably enhanced.
Bob is a quiet, highly respected man who is able to grasp a problem and put forward a solution quickly and with minimal fuss.
A silversmith by trade he has his own business in Sheffield and has produced some outstanding commissions over sixty years, recent recipients including the Princess Royal & Tom Cruise and the winners of the World Snooker Championship who get to keep a replica of the famous trophy with Bob’s name on the bottom for posterity. More importantly for many local leagues and clubs across a multitude of sports his skills allowed him, over decades, to provide medals and new trophies and the engraving thereof. Not to mention detailed models ranging from the Queen Mother’s Funeral Gun-Carriage to Supertram, or those FA Cup replicas………….
Personally I have only know Bob for a relatively small time working alongside Bob and the other Trustees at Mexborough Athletic. Bob’s enthusiasm and energy are the drive that helps many through the many difficult days we have keeping the grounds and the club operating. Reading the impact he has made in the world of Tennis is humbling and Bob is a true local hero.
Much of the text in this report is taken from the citation submitted for Bob’s award and I thank those who wrote and submitted the citation for recognising a true gentleman with who I have the honour to work with on a number of projects.