While researching the history of the school’s Tennis Champion Award, a significant name emerged: Betty Batt (OH 1932).

Betty attended school at Acton from September 1925 until March 1932. Between then and 1950 she played in many tournaments around the UK. Just months after leaving school she won the girls’ and mixed doubles at the Middlesex Junior Championships and was runner up in the singles. The following year she won all 3 titles and a journalist reported that she “had more tournament experience than most of the other competitors.”

Both years she played at the unofficial junior indoor championships held at the Dulwich Covered Courts. In the first year she was runner up in the singles and doubles finals. However, the following year she won the singles tournament. She was also runner up in the junior section of the South of England lawn tennis championships held at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne in September 1933.

Betty played in the 1932 and 1933 Junior Championships at Wimbledon getting to the last 16 of the girls’ singles in the first year. The following year she was a semi-finalist in the singles and mixed doubles tournament and runner up in the girls’ doubles tournament playing with Rita Jarvis.

Armed with her successes as a junior she turned 18 and joined the ranks of the senior players where she continued a full schedule of tournaments.

At her first attempt in June 1934, she played in the southern qualifying competition at Roehampton in both singles and doubles but failed to qualify for the main Wimbledon draw. Between 1935 and 1939 Betty played in all Wimbledon championships except one usually in all three disciplines. Her best result was in the 1939 mixed doubles competition when she got to the 4th round.

The lawn tennis championships at Wimbledon were not played between 1940 and 1945 during the second World War. On the outbreak of war, Betty became an ARP warden for her local area in Acton and she got married to her first husband, Noel Passingham, in March 1940 followed by the birth of their son, David, in 1942.

In 1946 Betty was selected for the six player Great Britain Wightman Cup team to play America at Wimbledon in June. This was the resumption of the competition, which consisted of five singles and two doubles matches, after a lapse of seven years. Betty played doubles with Molly Lincoln but unfortunately it was a whitewash with America winning all seven matches. This continued America’s domination in the competition who were undefeated since 1931 and since its inception in 1923 had won the cup 13 times compared with UK’s 4 wins.