HELENSBURGH residents will get their first chance to try out the sport of pickleball at an event in town this weekend.

A free taster lesson in the sport forms part of an open day at Craighelen Lawn Tennis and Squash Club on East Clyde Street on Saturday, April 20.

Pickleball is already hugely popular in the United States and Canada, with a number of former tennis players, including Andre Agassi, Andi Roddick and Maria Sharapova, having given it a shot, and it's fast growing in popularity in the UK too.

It uses elements of racket skills from tennis, squash, badminton, and table tennis.

The rules and scoring system also mean that pickleball is much more accessible for people of all ages, making the sport a fantastic family activity for everyone to enjoy.​

It's played with paddles that are larger than ping-pong paddles but smaller than tennis racquets, using a plastic, hole-covered ball and played on a court about half the size of a standard tennis court.

And it has another Helensburgh link too, in the form of former Hermitage Academy pupil Lucy Elliott, who was crowned Scotland's first national women's pickleball champion in June of last year and who partnered Lisa Crockett to the women's doubles championship to boot.

Lucy turned to pickleball during the Covid lockdown, with her Scottish championship wins coming after Scottish Open success in 2022 - the latter achieved just a few weeks after she represented Scotland in the table tennis competitions at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

This Saturday's open day at Craighelen will also include opportunities to try out tennis, squash and racketball.

In addition to the pickleball taster lesson, which takes place at 12 noon, there will be free kids' tennis sessions at 10am and 1pm and an adult beginner tennis session, also free, at 11am.

More information about Saturday's event, along with links to register for any of the free lessons, can be found at facebook.com/CraighelenTennisandSquash.