Following our National LTA Tennis Award for ‘School of the Year 2022’, we were invited to the National Tennis Centre (NTC) for a special visit. We were delighted to accept and on Wednesday 30th November, 28 pupils, 7 tennis leaders and 10 adults made the journey to Roehampton to this fantastic facility, and wow! What a superb time we had there.
Our rail journey there, had an eventful start when our Deal to Dover train was cancelled. Parents and staff did an amazing job of ferrying us all over to Dover Priory Station by car, just in time to make our train to London. A change at Waterloo East / Waterloo for the train to Barnes meant we didn’t have to negotiate the Underground.
Once at Barnes, we then walked to the National Tennis Centre.
We had a fantastic time at the National Tennis Centre. There we met Ryan Peniston who is ranked Number 5 in Great Britain. This was an awesome experience for children and adults alike. Ryan was such a nice guy, answering questions, joining in the tennis activities with the children, and obliging all our photo requests. Additionally, the LTA provided him over 35 tennis balls for him to autograph for the children!
Next the children had a chance to try out Padel – a cross between tennis and squash.
Following the Padel and some more tennis, the children left the interactive courts for a tour of the facility. This was fascinating, seeing the different types of courts at the Centre and learning that these court surfaces replicate as closely as possible the courts used at the US Open, French Open and Wimbledon.
During our tour, we were fortunate to see Wheelchair Tennis World Number 1 in doubles, Alfie Hewett, training on court, as well as seeing the GB Number 4 player, Jack Draper.
The tour also passed the trophy cabinet where Emma Raducanu’s US Open Trophy is proudly displayed.
Following the tour, everyone enjoyed a lovely tea in the NTC’s restaurant area.
It was then time to say our good-byes and make our long journey home to Deal.
It was an absolutely fantastic day and it was so wonderful that our tennis leaders, now all at senior school, were able to join us for this trip.
There are so many thank yous we must make:
- To Alex Beaumont of the LTA, together with all the staff at the National Tennis Centre, for arranging such a superb afternoon for us.
- To Ryan Peniston, for giving up his time to meet our children and adding to the life memories made on this trip.
- To Bertie and Jasper’s Mum, Casper’s Mum, Dexter and Leo’s Dad, to Noah’s Mum and Liam’s Dad, for being parent helpers on such a long day trip.
- To all the parents and staff who ferried us by car from Deal Station to Dover Station, at the start of our day.
Without you all, this inspirational trip would not have happened. Thank you all so very much.