UNITY Mark Lodge Worshipful Master David White and Director of Ceremonies John Musty and Unity Royal Ark Mariner Lodge Scribe Peter Brewer presented £200 and £100 cheques to the Club Chairman and Coach of Devon Racqueteers Parabadminton Club at the Club's training session in Broadclyst Sports Centre on Tuesday, May 9.

Crediton Freemasons and members of the Club.
Crediton Freemasons and members of the Club. (Peter Brewer)

This is a report on the History of this amazing Club, prepared by Crediton-based Coach Sharon who has been actively involved with Badminton for many years and has received several awards herself.

Devon Racqueteers wheelchair badminton was one of six specialist Clubs in Great Britain in 2008 when it was formed by Rowan Crossman and David Follett.

This unique Club was thriving under the guidance of the National Governing Body of Badminton.

In 2014, the club was awarded the very prestigious “Club of the Year” award from National Governing Body of Badminton, which when you consider how many able bodied clubs there are nationally, this was some achievement.

However, after the success of the 2012 Paralympics, it was decided that funding would be made available as Parabadminton was going to be included as an Olympic sport.

Everybody got really excited about this but in fact it added to the demise of the sport as funding was only available at National and Elite level.

This saw all the other wheelchair clubs close apart from Devon Racqueteers.

Sadly shortly after, the Nation was hit by Covid and all vulnerable people took a different perspective on life.

This stumbling block made Racqueteers even more determined to keep going.

Although, yes, they lost a few players, they decided to take a different approach to membership and to be inclusive of all disabilities.

Devon Racqueteers was rebranded to include Parabadminton in its name and then it was able to include not only players with a wide range of physical disabilities, but now, all adults and youth with additional learning needs too.

This progression has enhanced the value of the club.

It still remains the only club in the country which caters for people with varying disabilities and needs.

The club has gone from strength-to-strength and is now led by Chairman and only original member Rowan Crossman.

The club has a membership of 15 players and still has the capacity to accept a few more.

With the aid of two Badminton England registered coaches, the club has an electronic automatic shuttle feeder which allows the players more accurate, consistent and variable shuttle feeds to enhance play.

The club is suitable for all disabilities and it remains the ONLY disabled badminton club in England.