BADMINTON: The Bolton Badminton League gets under way next week without two of its long-time stalwarts.

Chairman Pauline Reddy and president Les Robert have both stepped down after several decades ensuring that the league competition ran smoothly.

Miss Reddy played badminton for Moorfield, Bolton Cricket Club, Bolton Badminton Club and Markland Hill in a long and successful sporting career.

She was the match secretary and founder member of the league’s management committee in 1971 and took on the role of chairman in 1988.

Miss Reddy is an honorary vice-president of the Lancashire County Badminton Association and was for many years a tournament referee. She is now standing down from her successful but demanding local and regional roles she held for 44 years due to ill health.

Les Robert started his playing career at Victoria Methodist Church in Horwich in 1946 and two years later helped to form the Horwich & District Badminton League. He coached the sport in the 1950s, became the league’s first competition secretary in 1971 and was elected president in 1980.

New president Ray Schofield said: “The Bolton League and its players have been extremely fortunate to have had two such dedicated officers working for them over the years.

“It is thanks to their individual efforts, along with those of others on the management committee that this league has stayed strong when others have not.

“Pauline has also worked tirelessly for the Lancashire Association, keeping badminton a popular, competitive sport and the county a rich seam of talent. We owe them both our sincere thanks.”

In the Bolton League, meanwhile, a new club, Racketeer Badminton Club, has joined and will play on Tuesdays at the Bolton Arena. Three teams have had to be withdrawn though: Metro A in B Section, Sharples B in C Section and Markland Hill F in D Section.

Last season’s champions Hawkshaw A — who snatched the title at the 11th hour from Bury A — begins their current campaign with a home match against Bury B, while Bury A are at home to Hawkshaw B.