Albion legend Bobby Zamora praised award winner Tim Holtam – after experiencing the buzz of a morning at Brighton Table Tennis Club.

The former striker visited the club’s venue in Kemp Town to present Tim with a National Lottery Award.

A judging panel whittled down 3,780 nominees to just seven winners and Tim faced stiff competition in this year’s Sports category.

While they have helped develop a Paralympic gold medallist and national champions, it is the club’s outreach work in schools, youth centres, prisons and with asylum seekers that has really made a difference.

Zamora spent a morning seeing what the club gets up to.

He said: “Tim has done a remarkable job. Seeing exactly what he does and the amount of people he touches and affects their lives in a positive way, is remarkable.

“You have refugees to children in foster care to children and adults with disabilities.

“There are 1,500 people coming through here a week, 17 courses a week.

“Right now, there is over-50s playing table tennis and it’s a real buzz in this place.

“I was here at 7.30am, packed out and an amazing place.

The Argus:

“There are children here who have been going a couple of years and are part of GB and England teams.

“Without that being here, those opportunities wouldn’t have happened and they wouldn’t be travelling the world at the age of 13, representing their country.

“That is all down to Tim.

“National Lottery have helped fund part of this.

“I didn’t even realise the National Lottery put nearly £30 million a week into charities and foundations and without that a lot of things couldn’t happen.”

Paralympic gold medal winner and world No.1 Will Bayley is based at the club.

Tim, a former national junior champion, is proud of the progress made by the club in the Fitzherbert Centre in Upper Bedford Street, both at elite and community level.

But he promises there is a lot more to come.

He said: “We started 18 years ago. There were two broken tables and it was just for local teenagers initially.

“We just built this amazing club and community.

The Argus:

“There are so many people helping. It’s a special place.

“Thanks to the National Lottery and Sport England for their support.

“The junior training squad has got the best players in England now.

“We have got so many players coming through, it is so exciting.

“The coaches are role models – Will Bayley, Teresa Bennett, Wen Wei Xu.

“The potential is huge for what we do next.

“We still feel it is the start of the journey.

“That is why it is refreshing and exciting.

“Sport England’s support of the club, particularly since 2016 when we moved here, has been amazing.

“They helped with refurbishment and our refugee integration project.”

The club plan to open a second venue in Moulsecoomb in the spring.

Tim said: “It will massively expand what we can do and get loads of local people in Moulsecoomb involved.

“We are already based in the school there and we have got good links.

“But to have a second full-time venue is massive for us.”

The Argus:

Zamora picked up a bat and played a few points during his visit.

Asked if he was a decent player, he replied: “Not at this level but I can return a back-hand.

“But these guys put the hours in and are a really good standard.

“That happens in any sport. Put the hours in, work hard and your level will increase.

“The guys here are top drawer.”