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No one dares pull any punches with this 90-year-old racket star

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 13, 2012

By Philippa Jenkins

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PICKING up a racket to play badminton and tennis is a way of life for a 90-year-old from Northam, making him one of the oldest players in North Devon, if not the country.

Douglas Shooter, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, plays tennis and badminton every week in Barnstaple and is not contemplating stopping now.

Both the Tarka Tennis Centre and North Devon Leisure Centre confirmed Douglas is currently their oldest player in both sports.

Although Douglas played badminton at school he then stopped and only started again in his early 60s. Following that he took up tennis.

The retired architect said: "I used to live up North and for a time I lived on the edge of the Pennines so I did a lot of climbing.

"Being an architect kept me active as well so I took up tennis and badminton more when I retired to keep active."

He has been playing tennis with the same group at the Tarka Tennis Centre in Barnstaple for ten years.

The Second World War veteran said it is the social aspect of the sports which is part of the attraction.

He said: "We have fun while we play but we usually enjoy a coffee afterwards too.

"I have been playing a bit more badminton as it is easier to drop out of while you are playing.

"I hope the others I play with treat me the same as anyone else, they certainly don't pull any punches anyway.

"I do serve underarm now but I think I manage everything else.

"I don't think I do anything particularly to keep me young, I think it is just hereditary and a bit of luck, although I do take a multivitamin everyday."

Douglas said he had fought with the Royal Engineers during the Second World War but returned unscathed despite being involved with mine disposal in North Africa and Italy.

Malcolm Petersen, 77, from South Molton, has played tennis with Douglas for ten years.

He said: "In our group of four we have an average age of 80 with Doug being the oldest.

"We are all jealous of Doug's head of hair. We call ourselves the golden oldies.

"We play for two hours every week. We don't often have a proper match just a knock around."

Ken Slow, 67, plays badminton with Douglas and said he is a pleasure to play with because plays so well and is a perfect gentleman.

He added: "We always try to play together because Dougie is so good at the net and serving and I can move about more easily so we make a good team – we quite often win.

"If I am still playing when I am 90 I will be absolutely delighted."

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