A DRIVING force behind Oxfordshire tennis has died, aged 64.

Nicky Maskens was chair of the sport in the county and held several positions on the national Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

Her years of experience even took her to the famous All England Club, where she helped run the prestigious Wimbledon Championships several times.

Nicky Scrafton was born on September 6, 1954 in Salisbury, the third of four children to parents Dawn and Norman, the latter a prisoner of war during the Second World War.

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She was raised in Gloucestershire along with her two older sisters, Jacqui and Diana, and her younger brother, Robert.

Nicky played tennis throughout her youth, before she began an economics degree at Liverpool University in the early 1970s.

Soon after leaving Liverpool, the graduate moved to Oxford to work in the marketing department at Cowley-based Unipart.

Tennis played a huge role in her life and she even met her future husband through the sport.

Ms Scrafton joined the Morris Motors Tennis Club in Cowley, where she met her husband Anthony Maskens in the early 1980s.

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They married in 1984 and had two sons, Jonathan, born in 1986, and Anthony Jr, born in 1993.

After living in Cowley when Jonathan was born, the family moved to Headington, which remained their home for several years.

Mrs Maskens was in marketing for her whole career and also worked for A C Nielsen, now based at Oxford Business Park in Cowley.

She also dealt with well-known retailers and manufacturers, including Boots and Tesco.

But tennis was the one constant throughout her life, as a player, parent and committee member.

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Mrs Maskens went on to play at the North Oxford Tennis Club in Summertown and began volunteering in various capacities, before she eventually chaired the Oxfordshire LTA.

She was dedicated to developing the sport at club and county level and had a particular passion for increasing opportunities for juniors and adults of all abilities.

As well as being the county's chairperson for the last eight years, she had been Oxfordshire's LTA councillor since 2008 and was an LTA board member.

If that was not enough, Mrs Maskens chaired the organisation's Tennis Development Committee from 2017, while she also found time to help run one of the biggest tournaments in sport.

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For the last four years, she had sat on the All England Club's Championship Committee, responsible for running the Wimbledon Championships.

Mrs Maskens was one of just 14 people looking after everything from press to player relations across the two-week tournament.

As part of her role, she was 'assigned' to several players, including Croatian star Marin Cilic in 2017, when he reached the final.

In recent years, Mrs Maskens had been semi-retired and worked remotely.

She died on May 7 from various illnesses, after being admitted to hospital with pneumonia, and is survived by her husband, siblings and two sons.

Her funeral will be held at 4pm tomorrow at Oxford Crematorium.