MY STORY – Darren Thorpe

Darren Thorpe
Darren Thorpe

AT JUST 17 years of age Darren Thorpe was presented with a life-changing opportunity.

At the end of his schooling, he was selected from an elite group to be Jimboomba Rotary Club’s first international exchange student.

They arranged for him to be hosted by four families with the Rotary Club of Spokane in the State of  Washington for 12 months.

More than 35 years later Darren reflected on those 12 months and the confidence it instilled in him to take on life when he returned.

“It was a great experience going to college over there doing subjects that I had not done before,” he said.

“I recommend it to any student to go for an exchange program it certainly breaks you out of your shell talking to groups as large as 500 plus about Australia”

Darren is best known locally for his sporting contributions firstly to soccer as a player and a coach and now as the president of the Beaudesert and District Tennis Association.

“I was a latecomer to tennis and didn’t pick up a racquet until I was 35, I have now grown to love the game,” he said.

“I took on the president’s role about five years ago and set the club and myself key goals. Firstly to get the two abandoned courts back in action and also to improve the four courts we were presently using.”

Darren can now look back on those challenges and proudly say “job done”.

The club now has two new hard courts and the four synthetic courts have all been resurfaced.

He says there is still work to be done and they are presently looking to install more efficient LED lighting over four of the courts.

The Beaudesert club now has a healthy membership group of more 50 members and they are continuing their drive to attract more players.

The youngest members are just three years old playing blue ball tennis, while U3A members who come along each week to play are sometimes well into their 80’s.

“It just goes to show it doesn’t matter your age or your ability, tennis is a fun game for everyone,” he said.

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