A US-BASED tennis champ who learnt the game in her home town of Cardigan is offering to pay for the town’s courts to be given a much-needed makeover.

The now sadly-neglected Gwbert Road venue instilled in Donna Wyse a lifelong love of the sport and in 2018 she became USTA singles over-50s champion in the United States where she now lives.

"Not bad for a Cardi girl!" she told the Tivy-Side this week.

But with Cardigan Town Council having to prioritise their budget, the courts have fallen into disrepair and – as the town no longer has a club – are now largely unused, especially in winter.

Their surface has also been described as dangerous due to loose gravel.

On a recent trip home with her family from Omaha, Nebraska, Donna was moved to make her cash offer after being left horrified at the state of the courts where – as young Donna Dunnett from Maesglas – she first took up the game under local coach Brian Lee.

“I drove past the courts and noticed they were in a mess,” she said. “My aunty Glenda said they were dirty and dangerous to play on.”

The former Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi pupil began playing in her early teens.

“My friend and I would practically live down on the courts and even worked from a little shed charging people to play and supply equipment,” she recalled.

“I won the Ceredigion tournament and club under-16's and Brian took me, Hayley Stevens, Gaynor Spencer and Susan James under his wing.

“We ended up making it to the National Finals at the Lilleshall National Sports Complex in 1983, I think, and I still have the picture that was in the Tivy-Side.”

Having moved to university in London, Donna did not play seriously again until she started working in her early twenties.

“Then I got married and lived in Germany so was able to play more often, but only when moving to America 22 years ago did I start competing again,” she recounted.

“Having lived all over, tennis has been my escape and I have many tennis friends all over the world.

“It is such an amazing game, keeps me fit and is wonderful for your social life.

“So wherever I go for holiday or work I always take my racquet and try and set up a match or hit with a coach.

“I would love to see Cardigan back to its heyday in the 1980s with a coach and programs for the youth to get them into the game.

“I used to love the club tournaments - young and old competed, then we'd have an awards night at the rugby club!

“I am happy to do anything to contribute and even though I’m ‘over the pond’ would love to help in whatever way I can.”