Priory Club Centenary: Great Grandfather Jack was still playing at 94

GREAT grandfather Jack Millin was still playing tennis at the age of 94 with an aptly named Rusty Racquets group.

And Jack, Priory Tennis Club’s oldest member who is now aged 97, hoped his story inspires others when featured in The Correspondent in November 2017.

“I have proved it is never too late to come back to tennis or start from scratch. It is also a great way to keep fit,” he said.

Jack Millin

Jack, of Woodend Lane, Stalybridge, only returned to the sport in his seventies and played until the age of 94 when a stroke forced him to retire.

He explained: “I went to stay with friends in Florida and they told me to take my tennis shoes.

“When I joined Priory on my return, I couldn’t find anyone to play during the day so I persuaded them to let me form a ‘Rusty Racquets’ group for retired people.

“We had about 20 members and they can play 9am-4.30pm weekdays for half subscription. And we have a regular group that meets on Monday and Friday at 10am.”

Jack, who still played once a week, said their group has broken down barriers and the notion you have to play against opponents of a similar ability.

And Jack comes alive on the court as he explained: “I have problems walking on rough ground and when going downhill need a stick.

“But the courts at Priory are level and like carpets so is a safe environment to play on.”

Jack Millin with a 90-year-old racquet

And there was a thrill recently for Jack when he got to play against former Wimbledon players Danny Sapsford and Luke Milligan during a Brighter Ideas for Tennis initiative at Priory.

Jack teamed up with the club’s junior champion, 12-year-old Ciaran Dale to play a friendly tie break against ex-Davis Cup pair Sapsford and Milligan.

Jack first played tennis when he was in the Royal Air Force Air Crew – he was a wireless operator and air gunner, flying bombing missions with the South African Air Force over Italy during the Second World War.

He initially played at Albion Tennis Club, Ashton, where his then wife-to-be Mary was a champion player.

Jack, whose second wife Vivienne was also still playing into her eighties, worked in the family painting and decorating and scaffold hire business in Ashton and he attributes this manual work to having good upper-body strength.

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