AN exciting challenge lies ahead for six members of Priory Tennis Club, Stalybridge, who will be travelling to the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton to take on former GB Davis Cup and Federation Cup stars Danny Sapsford and Jocelyn Rae when they participate in a 24-hour tennis marathon.
The event takes place on Saturday, February 17 and Priory Tennis Club has teamed up with Willow Wood Hospice in a bid to raise much-needed funds.
They have set themselves a target to raise £2,000 which will be shared equally between both organisations.
Last September Sapsford brought his tennis roadshow to the Priory Tennis Club in Cheetham Park and held a series of coaching sessions with club members, both young and old.
He was so impressed by what he saw that he invited the club to be one of only 12 clubs nationally to join him in this year’s Bright Ideas for Tennis 24-hour tennis marathon that he organises annually to raise funds for charity.
Sapsford played on the ATP Tour from 1987-1999, reaching a career high ATP singles ranking of 170 and 83 in doubles and represented Great Britain in the Davis Cup from 1990-95.
He competed in all four Grand Slams, with his best performance coming at Wimbledon in 1999 where he made the third round before losing to eventual champion Pete Sampras.
Jocelyn achieved an all-time best doubles ranking of 69 in the world in 2017. She has won one International Tennis Federation (ITF) title in singles and 12 in doubles.
Together with Colin Fleming, she won the gold medal in the mixed doubles at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi for Scotland.
Each year Willow Wood needs to raise £2.3million – that’s over £6,300 every day of the year – to maintain the kind and caring services they provide for residents of Tameside and Glossop.
Priory provides tennis facilities for players of all ages from four to 94 years old, which encourages participation in healthy outdoor activities.
An even stiffer challenge faces club member Richard Slater who has volunteered to take part in his first ever sky dive in February.
Slater said: “I couldn’t resist the challenge of a marathon and having the unique chance of playing against international pro tennis players.
“I’m not doing it just for fun because I’m trying to raise funds for Willow Wood Hospice and Priory Tennis Club.
“I’m also doing a skydive in February for both these causes. It’s a unique opportunity to try to help my community and one I’ll remember forever.”
Other members of the team looking forward to playing in the tennis marathon are Josh Byrom, Will Corless, Dennis Hilton, Judith McKenzie and Jonathan Seville.
If you would like to sponsor the Priory Team go online: https://mydonate.bt.com/teams/priorytennis – all donations will be gratefully received.