North Ayrshire Table Tennis Club have gone from strength to strength since winning the Local Club of the Year award at the 2013 Sunday Mail sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards.
Founder Billy Main had a vision to bring table tennis to his community 15 years ago and has seen his club win many team and individual accolades in the sport since it opened its doors.
However, he insists that being recognised at the Sunday Mail sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards is the “biggest thing” that has happened to the club.
With the help of his sons, Scottish International players Chris and Richard, Billy has helped the club grow from a small hut to a top facility, producing some of Scotland’s most talented youngsters and creating links with schools.
North Ayrshire Table Tennis Club’s remarkable journey is proof of what can be achieved through passion for community sport.
Billy said: “We have won quite a few prizes in table tennis since we started, but winning the Local Club of the Year award was the biggest thing that has ever happened to us.
“When I did the speech that night I said that was one of the best nights of my life, to win something like that in front of all of those people.
“We have put a lot of work into table tennis, we are 15 years old this year. We have been non-stop in all of those years. Winning was not just for ourselves but for North Ayrshire, it was a great honour.
“We started off in a wee wooden hut and now we have one of the top-class facilities in Scotland.
"We have major competitions here, we have Scottish international training here, international tournaments are held here.”
Since being recognised in 2013 North Ayrshire TTC have continued to grow and produce exciting talent.
As well as having the top primary school players for both girls and boys the club’s team was promoted to the British Premier League in 2016 and, despite being favourites to get relegated, they proved their doubters wrong once again.
Billy said: “We have won the British League at different levels and last year we got promoted into the British Premier League, the highest league you can get in the UK.
“We were the favourites to get relegated, because our team were just local players who had been with the club for years. Every other team and professionals from all over the world playing with them.
“We finished sixth out of the eight, which was a great thing for us to survive in that league.”
Brothers Martin and Jamie Johnson are two of the club’s top young prospects, with Jamie No.1 in the Under-13 group and Martin the top-ranked player for Under-15s.
The club has consistently produced top young talent and Billy insists there are more skilful players on the way.
He said: “Behind Jamie and Martin we have another eight to ten people ranked highly in the Scottish youth system.
“We found all of these top players by going into schools and doing exhibitions. Chris and Richard go into schools to encourage kids to get involved. My two boys are the catalyst for all of this.
“Everyone looks up to them and they have been the ambassadors for creating the club as it is now.”
Find out more
Everything you need to know about the 2017 Sunday Mail sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards.
Check out the Clubs section of the sportscotland website
If you’re interested in table tennis go to the Table Tennis Scotland website