26 May 2021 | Tennis Queensland

Queensland tennis is mourning the passing of former Tennis Queensland Board Director and Life Member of Home Hill Tennis Association, Colin (Col) Casswell.

Col died peacefully surrounded by family on Monday 24th May after succumbing to brain cancer.

Until his last day, Col was an avid tennis lover who dedicated his life to the sport. He and his family have been the heart of the Burdekin Shire tennis community, with Col serving as an active member of the Home Hill Tennis Association for over 40 years, including serving in roles as secretary and grant sub-committee member for the club he loved.

Earlier in 2021, Colin was named Burdekin Citizen of the Year for his contribution to the whole community, with particular note to his commitment to the Home Hill Tennis Association.

“He has been instrumental in acquiring many improvements to Home Hill Tennis Association facilities as a member of the grant subcommittee: writing, applying, and being successful in receiving almost one million dollars in grant funding,” said Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin.

Col’s passion for the sport extended to volunteering his time on behalf of his local region, as Deputy Chairperson for the North Regional Assembly from 2013 – 2018 and Regional Member for Tennis Queensland from 2015 until taking on the role as Director of the Board.

He then served as a Director of Tennis Queensland from November 2018 until October 2020, advocating strongly for the regional tennis community, in particular matters which affected clubs in North Queensland.

He was passionate about regional clubs and the future of competitive opportunities for tennis players, leading the charge for developments in the areas of match play and club affiliation during his tenure. He was instrumental in setting up a statewide review into competitive play, which led to Tennis Australia following suit shortly after.

Tennis Queensland President Warwick Nicol shared in the tributes pouring in for Col today, “Col Casswell was a genuine bloke who loved his sport and wanted to give all of himself to make sure everyone else, no matter age or gender had the opportunity of experiencing this great sport.
Col’s support of tennis was a package deal. Surrounded by his wife and children, the Casswell’s have been unstoppable in their quest to promote this great game. I am sure the entire Tennis community mourns with the Casswell family today. Col may not be with us in person, but his legacy will live on for generations to come.”

Tennis Queensland CEO, Mark Handley reflected on Col’s contribution to the sport with this message to his family, “If you looked up the definition of volunteer in the dictionary, you would see a picture of Col. He was the nicest fellow you would ever want to meet. He had a level of authenticity about him that was magnetizing, so balanced in his communication regardless of who you were, he was willing and just simply, had the time of day. I am so blessed to have spent some quality time with the great man and our sport has been very lucky to be on the receiving end of his contribution. My heart aches for Kate, Hannah and the boys, and on behalf of Tennis Queensland, we are in mourning with the rest of the tennis community as we wrap our arms around the entire Casswell family at this time.”

At one of his last commitments before stepping down from the board, Col visited the Cairns community in support of developments happening at the Cairns International Tennis Centre. Here Col was recognized and personally thanked by world No.1 Ash Barty who was also in attendance and took the time to meet Col and his family in person, knowing the contribution he had made to the sport that continues to bring her joy and success.

After stepping down in September 2020 to concentrate on his health and spending time with his family, Col was presented with a special gift including a signed Ash Barty racquet with photos from Team Barty and Tennis Queensland to recognize his extraordinary contribution to the sport throughout the years.

Josie Barty commented, “So well deserved Col for you and Kate both! Your support has been unwavering and greatly appreciated.”

Home Hill Tennis Association celebrated 40 years of their largest event, the Sugar Bowl tournament earlier this year, a milestone for the Casswell family who helped grow the event to what it is today.

Col has left behind a lasting legacy and will be dearly missed by Kate, Andrew, Hannah and James as well as all his extended family and many friends.