Serve and smash with Lewes Badminton Club

Lewes Badminton Club is a permanent staple in the local community with a history of over 85 years, offering residents the opportunity to play this wonderful sport.


Philip is Chairman of Lewes Badminton Club and has been a member for nearly 20 years and we managed to have a conversational rally with him to talk about the beauty of badminton and the club…


Can you tell readers about your own background in badminton and what you love so much about the sport?

I started playing badminton in the 1980s aged about 25 and am still playing now at 66. It is a great sport for all ages as long as the players are of a similar standard. I started off just playing with friends, then joined a club, then formed a new club, then became a member of the Eastbourne Badminton Committee of which I am now Secretary and Interim Chairman. I have also been Treasurer for Sussex Badminton for over ten years now. My wife and I joined Lewes Badminton club in 2004 and introduced our daughter at 15 in 2008 and we are all still members and enjoy every moment.

I am still trying to promote badminton as a sport for all and this season have started weekly No Strings Badminton Sessions for Beginners and Intermediates in Eastbourne. This is a low cost way to play badminton for relaxed social game-play for adult players of all abilities. You don’t have to be members you decide when you want to play.


How long has Lewes Badminton Club been running for and what would you say have been the club’s proudest moments?

Lewes Badminton Club’s roots are from Gnats Badminton Club formed in 1934 who moved to Eastgate Street in Lewes in 1938. Also Southover Badminton Club who, prior to the war, played in the Drill Hall in Mountfield Road and Southdown Brewery Club who played out of the brewery but had to vacate as the hall was required for the war effort. These three clubs came together during the war years as Lewes YMCA but it was not until players were demobbed in 1945 that the club really got going.

In 1953 Subscriptions were £2 per season and match fees 2s/6d. Lewes YMCA were playing only friendly matches at that time until in the 1955/56 Season Lewes YMCA joined the lowest Brighton League Division, then Division 4 and rose to Division 1 Champions by 1964/5. At this time feather shuttles were costing £1:10s:6d (£1.53p) per dozen. In 1970/71 Season Lewes YMCA joined the Eastbourne League and in 1973/74 the Crawley League.

Prior to the 1996/97 season we moved into the new facility at Plumpton College and became Lewes Badminton Club but we eventually found our way back to Lewes and made our home at Lewes Leisure Centre.

Our proudest moment was the forming of Lewes Junior Badminton club in 2007 with the aim of providing coaching and playing opportunities for young badminton players in and around the Lewes area. A club that started with just 3 juniors has now grown to almost 60 members. Ages range from age 8 to 18 with playing ability from absolute beginner up to County standard, and all are able to learn and play badminton in a safe and friendly environment. With four very separate sessions a week there is a suitable group for any young person wishing to join. As a player develops there are opportunities to advance through the groups and, as a final pathway, they are integrated into our senior club.


Are you currently looking for any players and if so, how can readers find out more about when and where training takes place?

We are at capacity at present but will be looking for new members in September for the new season. The senior club nights are on Monday evenings at 8:00pm to 10:00pm. People can contact me through the Club website


Are there any upcoming tournaments you are looking forward to the most this year?

It is nearing the end of the badminton season and all tournaments are now complete except for the in house club tournament which is well attended and played to win but also fun. Next season will see another 3 Series Plus round of Tournaments in Bognor, Crawley, Brighton and Eastbourne along with league matches in the Brighton, Mid Sussex and Eastbourne leagues.


Do you have a future vision of where you would like Lewes Badminton Club to be in the next 30-40 years?

I probably won’t be playing then but hopefully the club will still be going with players wanting to join a friendly but competitive club.


Away from badminton, what do you enjoy most about living in Lewes?

I worked in Lewes for about ten years and still travel from Eastbourne to play badminton there. It is a lovely town surrounded by beautiful countryside and plenty of history. The High Street is full of interesting little shops and antique emporiums and is a perfect place for a bite to eat or a drink in one of the historic pubs by the river.


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