HRH The Earl of Wessex is an ace with Perse students at real tennis
23 Jan 2018
It is not every day you get to play sport with a member of the Royal Family.
Three Perse students did just that though, when they became HRH The Earl of Wessex’s doubles partners at the launch of a new Duke of Edinburgh Award initiative at Cambridge University Real Tennis Club.
Throughout 2018, the Earl, who is patron of the DofE Awards, will be aiming to play at every real tennis court in the world as part of the Tennis Challenge to raise funds that will allow more young people both in the UK and abroad get involved in the scheme.
The first stop on the Earl’s DofE Tennis Challenge was CURTC. Isabella Harvey (Year 7), Jonny Markus (Year 10) and Oliver Brenton (Lower Sixth) had the honour of playing a set of real tennis – an indoor sport from which modern lawn tennis is derived – alongside him.
They, along with other young players at CURTC, helped raise money for the Tennis Challenge and spent time speaking to the Earl after the match.
Jonny, who has been playing the sport for 18 months, said: “It was really exciting. I’d been looking forward to it ever since I heard about it and the Earl was a really good playing partner.”
Isabella, who did a sponsored swim in the sea off the Cornish coast on Boxing Day to raise funds for the Tennis Challenge initiative, said: “It was amazing. I was quite nervous, but the Earl was really nice.”
Listen to Oliver talk about his experience of playing real tennis with the Earl below.
Perse DofE co-ordinator Sarah Brunt said she was delighted students from the School had been selected to take part in the launch event.
She said: “It’s really exciting. It’s a new era for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards with HRH The Earl of Wessex taking over the patronage and it’s really nice that Perse students have been invited to be part of the launch event. It also helps raise awareness of the DofE Awards and the many benefits it has to offer students who take part.
“It broadens their horizons in a variety of areas. They have to commit a significant amount of their time to volunteering, learning a new skill, doing a physical activity and completing an expedition. It gives young people many opportunities to do things they wouldn’t normally think of doing at the same time as making a difference in their local community.”
Jonny explains why he is motivated to get involved in the DofE Awards scheme.