At the age of 80, Jane Austin and Sheila Pritchard remain active members of the Quesnel Pickleball Club that is gearing up to hit their outdoor courts at West Fraser Timber Park. (Sharon MacDonald photo)

At the age of 80, Jane Austin and Sheila Pritchard remain active members of the Quesnel Pickleball Club that is gearing up to hit their outdoor courts at West Fraser Timber Park. (Sharon MacDonald photo)

Quesnel pickleball members honoured as new outdoor season approaches

A celebration was held at St Ann’s Hall last Sunday for Jane Austin and Sheila Pritchard

The Quesnel Pickleball Club is eyeing to hit the outdoor courts at West Fraser Timber Park after recently honouring two women with lifetime memberships.

Jane Austin and Sheila Pritchard were also presented with flowers and handmade cards at St. Ann’s Hall on Sunday, March 13 in celebration of their 80th birthdays and active involvement with the club.

“They were blown away by all the attention because even though we had asked them to come and said we were going to be recognizing them, they had no idea that there would be a group there and that we were going to give them a lifetime membership and that we’d make a big deal out of it—of course, we would,” said president Sharon MacDonald with a chuckle.

“Like why wouldn’t we.”

Both women can regularly be found on the indoor courts at various schools in Quesnel throughout the week, laughing with everyone.

MacDonald said although Austin has limited use in one of her hands due to arthritis, that hasn’t slowed her down. Pritchard, a retired nurse who likely delivered half of Quesnel’s babies, also plays pickleball outside of club hours, she said.

The pair make up more than 100 members of the Quesnel Pickleball Club, which was formed nearly three years to organize play, clinics and tournaments for the sport, which combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

Read More: Quesnel Pickleball Club celebrates new space

Now that spring is in the air, vice president Rick Prosk has launched a contest for a $25 gift card to the first member to correctly guess when the outdoor courts will open for the 2022 season.

MacDonald noted the Quesnel Pickleball Club, which never took a hiatus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has big plans for the year.

Various tournaments are planned for July and August, including the annual Billy Barker Pickleball tournament and Tri City tournament. This September, a team will also be attending the 55+ BC Games in Greater Victoria.

MacDonald added the club has nearly reached its fundraising goal to install lighting at the courts at West Fraser Timber Park, allowing for the playing of pickleball at night.

”We really need to expand,” she said.

“We’ve been talking with the city about expanding so that we have more courts because we could be, and one of our lofty goals is to become the pickleball capital of the north.”

For further information go to Quesnel Pickleball Club on Facebook or visit https://pickleballcanada.org/participate/individual-membership/join-renew/ to register as a member.

Read More: “We need a voice” — Quesnel leader hopes to bring northern experience to Pickleball BC board

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: rebecca.dyok@quesnelobserver.com



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