A FUNDRAISER has been launched with a view of renovating a basketball court which will commemorate the success and history of a town’s team.

The Brightlingsea Sledgehammers were originally formed by Jules Keeling, now 41 and of Colchester, when he was just 13-years-old and lived in Brightlingsea.

The former Colne Community School and College student first got into basketball after Richard Simons was drafted in to teach the sport at the school.

At the time, however, there was no junior team on which Jules and others his age could be part of, so he decided to start up his own.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

George Ward, who is “like the uncle of the club” soon stepped in to coach the team of 12 to 14-year-olds and the Sledgehammers have continued playing ever since.

“I never thought it would go on for this long but it just evolved into a men’s team,” added Jules, who also runs his own audio and visual installation company.

“If George had not have stepped in I don’t know what the team would have become because he did such a great job coaching us.

“One of our players, Thomas Sadler, ended up having a ten year professional career and now coaches the women’s team at the University of Essex.

“We have also had countless players who have gone on to play in the national league as well, which is amazing.”

Since starting in 1993, the Sledgehammers have won a total of 65 titles, including the Essex League seven times, the Essex Cup three times and the Eastern Region Cup.

The team’s 28 year history and vast success is now set to be the focal point of a campaign to renovate a basketball court near Brightlingsea beach.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Jules in actionJules in action

The project has been launched by ex-Sledgehammer Jay Kitchen, 37, who is looking to generate at least £2,500 which will go towards the overall cost of the initiative.

He said: “The court is not really run down as such, I just have this vision to renovate it and improve the backboards and nets and add an art installation.

“The whole idea is at an early stage, and you are talking £6,000, but it will be a celebration of the Sledgehammers’ achievements and something for the community.”

To donate visit gofundme.com/f/brightlingsea-sledgehammers-beach-court-renovation.