Luckily my predecessors had left me well kept minute books of every meeting ever held and, as I read through them, I was amazed at the wealth of information I had available to me. They weren't that easy to read as the early one's were mostly handwritten and the more modern one's were invariably typed using a dodgy typewriter.
It was great fun researching the changes which the Club had faced over those one hundred years - from the hire of the horse to pull the roller over the grass courts, to the what now seem petty arguments about abolishing the all white clothing rule. However, the icing on the cake was my discovery that we used to have a Wimbledon Champion playing at our Club - Kay Stammers.
Kay was educated at the St Albans High School for Girls.
As a teenager, Kay won SALTC's mixed doubles championships in 1929, aged 14 or 15, with a D.H.Scott, before going on to win the clubs ladies singles championship two years later in 1931, the same year as she made her first Wimbledon appearance, having qualified aged just 17. Sadly, that first appearance at Wimbledon ended in round 2. It is believed she wore her hair in pigtails at the time.
Her parents, were also members at SALTC for many years. Her father, Hubert Charles Stammers, is also on the winners board having won the mens doubles in 1933 with a Mr H.E.Wortley, later to become a chairman of the club.
In June 1935 a newspaper article written just before Wimbledon says "We English people expect much from Kay Stammers, but whether she can stay on her best game for 12 days in a row is doubtful. On her most brilliant days she is practically unbeatable. But those shots of hers have so little margin of error that should they go wrong disaster may befall her".
"Undoubtedly the Club’s most famous member was Miss Kay Stammers who was England’s No1 player in the period before the Second World War. A left hander, she was, apparently, “one of the most graceful players, always a delight to watch" (from the book ‘Perry on Tennis’ by Fred Perry). As a youngster she won the Ladies Singles and the Mixed Doubles in the Club’s Championships before going on to greater things and in 1937 she was elected an honorary member of the Club in recognition of her achievements in international tennis.
In the summer of 1954 the Club celebrated its 50th Anniversary and a Dinner Dance was held. A number of official guests were invited including as many of the original members who could be found. Mrs Menzies (formerly Kay Stammers) was guest of honour. A number of entertainments were organised at the Club but unfortunately these had to be curtailed on account of the weather. However, there was a costume parade, some croquet and a game of tennis played in the fashions of 1904. Kay Stammers presented prizes for the best costume."
During the War, Kay played exhibition matches raising money for the Red Cross and served as an ambulance driver.
Kay and her husband emigrated to Johannesburg in South Africa in 1949 on account of Michael’s work and, nearly 20 years later, they moved to America, again because of work. They divorced in 1974 and a year later Kay married an American lawyer, Thomas Walker Bullitt, and went to live in Kentucky. Thomas predeceased her and she carried on living there until she died aged 91 in 2005.
For as long as her health allowed, Kay returned to Wimbledon every year.