Kenilworth squash star honoured with mural

Sarah-Jane Perry
Sarah-Jane Perry

Kenilworth’s Sarah-Jane Perry has been honoured with the creation of a new mural charting her career on the squash court.

The current world number seven was on hand to unveil the mural on the wall of the squash courts at the University of Warwick’s Sports and Wellness Hub.

From left to right  Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Steve Townsend and Sarah-Jane Perry.

From left to right Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Steve Townsend and Sarah-Jane Perry.

It tracks Sarah-Jane’s career to date, from when she picked up a racket for the first time in 1995 up to winning silver at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and achieving her highest world ranking of six.

Born in Birmingham, she has lived in Kenilworth since she was eight and is also a University of Warwick alumni.

After arriving in Kenilworth, she met Steve Townsend, who is now head squash coach at Warwick and has coached her for 18 years.

Sarah-Jane, who didn’t know about the mural plans, says she is honoured and hopes it will help to inspire the next generation of Warwickshire squash players.

She said: “It was a huge surprise, I had absolutely no idea but it’s pretty awesome and I feel honoured.

“I’ve had an unusual route into professional sport, with coming through university, but hopefully this can inspire more people to keep working and follow their sporting path.

“This area is really strong from a sporting perspective - you can see the talent that is coming out of Warwickshire and the wider Midlands.

“I’m proud to be part of the community here and to have my name up on the wall in the courts is really special.

“It’s an absolutely fantastic facility here, I train twice a week. It’s a great venue for people to come together in a sport community.”

The designers of the mural have left space on the wall for Perry’s achievements in the rest of her career and gold at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is her first target.

Sarah-Jane added: “After getting silver on Gold Coast in 2018, getting that Commonwealth Gold Medal is my main aim for the next few years.

“I want to keep pushing on with my world ranking, looking ahead to world number one, and I’m going to do everything I can to fill the space they have left for me at the end of the timeline.”

The mural was unveiled ahead of the first Premier Squash League (PSL) fixture to be played at the Sports and Wellness Hub, which saw University of Warwick/Kenilworth (WarKens) beat St George’s Hill 4-1.

It featured a great come from behind victory by Sarah-Jane to win in her match against Joelle King, which was a rematch of the Commonwealth Games final.

The hub features six glass-backed squash courts, with space for 120 spectators on the show courts.

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, director of sport and active communities at the University of Warwick, said: “We are privileged to count Sarah-Jane Perry amongst our alumni here at the University and as a respected ambassador of the Sports and Wellness Hub.

“She has had a fantastic career to date, so we thought it was only right we recognised her impact on squash here at the university and across Warwickshire.

“The mural looks fantastic and we hope everyone who comes in to play on the squash courts takes a little bit of inspiration away from Sarah-Jane’s story.”