A pickleball player from Longridge has been honoured with a British Empire Medal for her services to the sport.Advertisement
Elaine Shallcross, who is England’s North West Regional Director, was given the award at Lancaster Castle in a prestigious ceremony.
She has undertaken years of voluntary work and introduced new players to the sport.
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This is the first time that an honour has been awarded in the UK for services to pickleball as the sport continues to gain popularity throughout the country.
Pickleball is a racket sport played in either singles or doubles where players hit a hollow perforated plastic ball with paddles. It started in the United States in 1965 and has grown rapidly in popularity since then.
Elaine was first told she was being given the award when she received a letter from the Cabinet Office.
Speaking about how receiving the award made her feel, Elaine said: “I am really shocked but absolutely honoured to be awarded my BEM.
“I was very emotional when I got the letter from the cabinet office, telling me I had been nominated. Then it was really difficult to keep the secret until the formal announcement became public in the King’s birthday honours list.”
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Elaine went on to explain that boosting popularity of the sport “hasn’t been easy”.
She added: “It hasn’t been easy to drive forward the progress of Pickleball as a minority sport. But special moments like this make all the effort and work worthwhile, as well as the smiles on the faces of people we introduce them to our sport.”
Elaine is thought to be one of the first people to play pickleball in the UK after playing in Thailand in 2014.
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