Local VI Tennis team achieve national success after donation from Adderstone Foundation

The North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club (NEVITC) made a triumphant return from the inaugural National Visually Impaired Tennis Championships in October 2014, with the team boasting the ‘Player of the Tournament’ as well as a national champion.

Two totally blind tennis players, nine partially sighted players and two volunteers from the NEVITC competed in the inaugural Championships which took place at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

The team, whose base is The Northumberland Club in Jesmond, performed heroically and brought some richly deserved silverware back home up the A1. 

David Deas (Newcastle Club) and his partner Christine Laurence (London Metro Club), won the visually impaired mixed doubles title and NEVITC Secretary Wendy Glasper with her partner, NEVITC Chairman Graeme Manwell, were runners up in the mixed visually impaired and sighted doubles. 

A special award for player of the tournament was awarded to John Hawkins-Waterfall from Darlington. This award is presented to players who show outstanding performance and attitude, both on and off court.

The Club were able to take such a large group of players to London due to the generous and continued support of The Adderstone Foundation whose involvement with the Club has grown over the past two years.

Ian Baggett, Adderstone Foundation Trustee, recently made a donation of £4,100 to NEVITC. This money had been raised and matched by the Foundation at recent fundraising events including the Northumberland Tennis Open which took place in the summer at the Northumberland Club.

NEVITC Chairman and Northumberland Club Manager, Graeme Manwell said: “The support, both moral and financial, which we receive from The Adderstone Foundation has been invaluable. It has allowed us to book more practice courts, purchase the specially designed tennis sound balls from Japan and travel to different tournaments within the UK.

“The tennis is making a real difference to our players’ lives and I have watched this develop over the past year. Players have gained so much confidence, not just in their ability on the tennis court but with important life skills which sighted people take for granted, like hopping on a bus or train and travelling to a tennis club for practice. I am very proud of what each and every one of the players is achieving.”

Tennis for the visually impaired is played on a reduced sized tennis court and uses soft foam tennis balls which have a rattle inside to aid coordination for the players. Totally blind players are allowed three bounces of the ball and visually impaired players are allowed two bounces, players are never allowed to volley.

The NEVITC will be holding their own national tournament, supported by The Adderstone Foundation, in May 2015 and are hoping to build on the success of last year’s event which attracted over forty players from around the country.

For further information about visually impaired tennis in the North East, please email play@nevitc.org