We are a grant-giving charity (No. 1145526) created with the sole aim of increasing youth involvement in Real Tennis. Our game has too few young players and our aim is to get young people impassioned about our sport and to harness the enthusiasm, knowledge and skills of the games professionals and its clubs.
If you would like to support us, please contact David Mills or Roger Pilgrim. Alternatively you can donate by visiting our donations page.
The video below shows some of the work taking place with youngsters at Real Tennis clubs in the UK as a result of receiving grants from the Dedanists' Foundation.
GAP Year Apprentices working at Seacourt
The Dedanists' Foundation together with the Dedanists Society and the T&RA are supporting an important new initiative taking place at the Cambridge club. The objective is to support 2 youngsters whilst they are given a 6 month insight into life as a Real Tennis professional with a view to them choosing this as a career. Currently the game is suffering a shortfall in the number of young players seeking to become professionals. It is hoped that if this initiative is successful it could become a blueprint for similar schemes at other clubs.
The 2 youngsters taking part in the scheme are Jim Ludekens and Andrew Barker. As part of the scheme and to widen their knowledge about Real Tennis clubs they have just spent a week at Seacourt where they worked alongside top professional Andrew Lyons.
Their week at Seacourt gave them an insight into how another club is run and gave them plenty of opportunity to see the Seacourt approach to coaching junior players. Seacourt were running their usual half term Sports Club which includes Lawn Tennis, Padel, Badminton and Squash as well as Real Tennis. As part of their workload, Jim & Andrew joined in with the management of this club which is open to all youngsters living on Hayling Island.
They both enjoyed their Seacourt experience and felt that they had learned many things that would be useful in possible future careers as a Real Tennis professional.
The British U18 Junior Handicap Tournament 2019
Sponsored by The Dedanists' Foundation
The National U18 Handicap Singles Tournament took place at Wellington College over the weekend of 14th/15th December and was sponsored by The Dedanists’ Foundation. There was a very large entry this year including 8 girls and as a result, the very early rounds had to take place on Friday evening. There were large contingents from Wellington and Seacourt but many other clubs were also represented.
The “B” grade event for players with a handicap of over 75 included some excellent matches which resulted in a final between Henry Weekes (RTC) and Fergus Thomson (Wellington). A very close match ended with a win for Henry 6/5.
The “A” Grade for the lower handicap players was just as close. There were many great performances but special mention goes to Max Trueman (Seacourt) who overcame huge handicaps to notch up 3 wins. However, the 4 juniors that progressed to the semi-finals were Alex Machin (Wellington), Toby Barton (Wellington), Ross Morrison (RTC) and Hugo Pennant (Wellington).
Comfortable wins for Toby and Hugo saw them through to a thrilling final. In a one set, first to eight match, Hugo got to 7-5 up before Toby clawed his way back to win 8-7. The trophy was presented by Paul Weaver who is a Dedanists’ Foundation Ambassador and T&RA Director of Junior Tennis.
The Dedanists’ Foundation were delighted with the number of entries and particularly by the high proportion of girls playing. Dan Jones & Adam Player marked superbly throughout and the event was well attended by parents and supporters of the young players.
Gap Year Assistant Professionals Initiative
The Dedanists' Foundation together with the Dedanists Society and the T&RA are supporting an important new initiative taking place at the Cambridge club. The objective is to support 3 youngsters whilst they are given a 6 month insight into life as a Real Tennis professional with a view to them choosing this as a career. Currently the game is suffering a shortfall in the number of young players seeking to become professionals. It is hoped that if this initiative is successful it could become a blueprint for similar schemes at other clubs. After their first six weeks we have received the following report from Cambridge on their progress so far.
Three 18-year-old gap year assistant professionals (GYAPs) started working at Cambridge University Real Tennis Club on 17 September 2019, and will continue until mid-March 2020. Jim Ludekens and Andrew Barker have come through the Club's junior program and were starting to show signs of serious improvement in their understanding of the game as they finished their formal education. Zara Tweed comes to the sport with a strong background in several ball sports, including Eton Fives and showed a lot of promise and skill during her initial session on court with Kees.
All three GYAPs have demonstrated excellent professional skills: they are punctual, presentable and have really transformed the atmosphere in the Club. This program has given them the opportunity to spend 15 hours a week at the Club, learning the basics of the trade: ball making, racket stringing, some admin duties, as well as the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time on court, either hitting with members, learning to coach or practicing their own game. Kees uses the junior and student sessions to teach them coaching techniques and the juniors, in particular, have responded very well to this extra dimension.
In addition, the GYAPs have each taken on a specific duty: Andrew is organising the Cambridge team in the East Anglia pennant, Zara has instigated a weekly 70+ doubles group and Jim is leading the initiative to ensure all hitting partner slots are booked. He is also taking many of the sessions himself. The three GYAPS take turns to mark the handicap doubles league on a Friday evening and feedback has been excellent. They have successfully managed some very disparate handicaps.
The GYAPs have recently benefitted from a session with Rob Fahey at Prested. Rob talked to them about off-court preparation: diet and exercise, as well as an on-court session which really motivated the boys (unfortunately Zara was not able to attend due to other work commitments). We hope to repeat this later in their placement, as well as trips to Wellington and Seacourt to gain a wider understanding of the sport. Meanwhile, in Cambridge, Kees coaches them on court and Peter and Kees both teach them off-court duties. They have also had several sessions with Duncan Colquhoun, working on the finer points of their game.
The program has started very successfully and we look forward to seeing the GYAPs progress over the next few months. I can't imagine the Club without them. Sincere thanks to The Dedanists' Foundation, The Dedanists Society and the T&RA for supporting this initiative.
Zara, Jim, Kees and Andrew
The PLH Cup Competition 2019/2020
This tournament is sponsored by The Dedanists’ Foundation. It is part of the Foundation’s programme for encouraging and helping clubs to recruit more schools and youngsters into the game.
It is a junior inter-club competition run on a handicap basis designed to include predominantly youngsters aged 12-15 with handicaps ranging from 60-90.
The Charity, with the assistance of our Ambassador Paul Weaver and Director Josh Farrall, successfully ran the sixth Peter Luck-Hille Cup in 2018/19. This inter-club junior team competition is aimed at giving juniors who may be below the elite level a chance to take part in team matches and meet similar juniors from other clubs. The 2019/20 tournament is now underway and for the first time it has been arranged on a knockout basis with a record entry of 10 clubs now taking part. The draw has been made (see below) and we look forward to some exciting and enjoyable matches.
At Wellington on May 24th 2020
The British Junior Singles Championships
The Queens Club August 16th-18th 2019
This year for the first time The Dedanists’ Foundation provided some sponsorship to the flagship event of the junior real tennis calendar. A large number of youngsters from many different clubs around the country competed over 3 days in the top junior event of the year. The finals were all held on Sunday 18th in front of a large and knowledgeable crowd of parents and supporters.
The U12 section saw the best final ever played at this level! 8 year old Max Warner (Queens) defeated George Jameson 8/7 in an absolute thriller to become the youngest ever winner of the under 12 title. The U14 final was won by Bertie Vallat (Queens) who defeated Henry Henman (Radley) 6/3 6/2. The U16 final was an all Seacourt affair with James Medlow defeating Max Trueman 6/3 6/3.
The U18 section was dominated by William Flynn in the group stages but in the Final he struggled to maintain his superiority. Unexpectedly William dropped the first set 6/2 to Patrick Smart (Queens) but he then recovered well to win 2/6 6/1 6/0.
The Nat Duncan Trophy and Racket was presented to Henry Henman for outstanding sportsmanship.
Every player that entered received a superb commemorative tennis shirt provided free of charge by the Foundation.
Queen's Club, Sunday 18th August 2019
Under 18 William Flynn (Seacourt) bt Patrick Smart (Queens) 2/6 6/1 6/0
Under 16 James Medlow (Seacourt) bt Max Trueman (Seacourt) 6/3 6/3
Under 14 Bertie Vallat (Queens) bt Henry Henman (Radley) 6/3 6/2
Under 12 Max Warner (Queens) bt George Jameson (Seacourt) 8/7
Girls Plate Finals
Queen's Club, Friday 17th August 2018
Under 14 Final Katie Walker (Seacourt bt Eloise Flynn (Seacourt) 6/2
The Peter Luck-Hille Cup Final 2019
Wellington College Sunday 2nd June
RTC beat Seacourt 5/1
Once again The Dedanists’ Foundation was proud to sponsor the Peter Luck-Hille Cup Competition. The PLH Cup event is an inter-club junior competition specifically for junior players who are below the elite level. It gives them a chance to represent their club in team matches and meet and play against juniors of a similar standard from other clubs.
20 group stage matches had eventually resulted in Seacourt and RTC reaching the final which was held on Sunday 2nd June at the Wellington court. Seacourt were hoping to retain the trophy that they had won the previous year but RTC had other plans! Despite many close matches RTC went on to win the title convincingly 5-1.
After a few wise words from David Mills, The Dedanists Foundation Chairman, the magnificent trophy was presented by Peter Luck-Hille to Ross Morrison the winning RTC captain.
Currently there are 10 clubs entering teams and next year it is proposed to change the format of the competition to a knockout event which will hopefully allow even more club teams to take part.
Match Scores (RTC names first)
Ollie Drew (60) vs Olivia Boulton (68) 6/2
Ross Morrison (67.0) vs Barnaby Tambling (67) 6/3
Oli Hampson-Evans (83) vs Liam Ireson (94) 2/6
Ollie Drew & Ross Morrison vs Olivia Boulton & Barnaby Tambling 6/3
Ollie Drew & Oli Hampson-Evans vs Olivia Boulton & Liam Ireson 6/4
Ross Morrison & Oli Hampson-Evans vs Barnaby Tambling & Liam Ireson 6/0
Match Score RTC 5 Seacourt 1
The end of another successful University Real Tennis season
The Dedanists’ Foundation award grants to Universities that have a registered students Real Tennis Club. Our grants allow the students in these clubs to regularly travel to and play their nearest Real Tennis Court. The grants also go towards the cost of attending the Annual Inter-University Tournament held each year at Cambridge. The Foundation also offers help with the design and supply of leaflets to attract new members each September.
Supporting University Real Tennis provides an important link to help young people continue to play our game even though they have left school and may have moved away.The photos below give you an idea of the fun the students have had in the 2018/19 season.
RTC & Seacourt qualify for the Peter Luck-Hille Cup Final
The Final will take place on June 2nd at Wellington starting at 10.00am
This tournament is sponsored by The Dedanists’ Foundation. It is part of the Foundation’s programme for encouraging and helping clubs to recruit more schools and youngsters into the game. It is a junior inter-club competition run on a handicap basis designed to include predominantly youngsters aged 12-15 with handicaps ranging from 45-90.
Please come along to support and enjoy some excellent junior tennis.
The Annual Dedanists' Foundation Founder Patron Lunch and the Launch of the New Diamond Patrons Scheme
The 7th Annual Dedanists’ Foundation Founder Patron lunch was held at the The Queen’s Club on Monday 14th January 2019 in the Members Private Dining Room. A Pol Roger champagne reception was followed by a superb lunch served to the 33 attendees which included the charity’s existing Founder and Diamond Patrons, potential Patrons, Directors and Ambassadors.
David Mills, the Dedanists Foundation Chairman, welcomed everyone and thanked them for their support. David also took the opportunity to officially launch the Diamond Patron Scheme. Details of the Diamond Patron Scheme have been subsequently emailed to all Founder Patrons and the good news is that the Charity now has 7 Diamond Patrons, for which we are grateful.
This was followed by a few words from the Charity’s Ambassador, Paul Weaver. Paul talked about the last two junior events that had been sponsored by The Dedanists’ Foundation and how wonderful it was to see so many juniors from all backgrounds enjoying the game of Real Tennis. It was an excellent annual lunch and a true celebration of the tremendous work being done by the Foundation and a chance to thank all Diamond and Founder Patrons for their wonderful generosity.
The British U18 Junior Handicap Tournament 2018
Sponsored by The Dedanists' Foundation
The British Junior Handicap Singles Tournament, held at the Wellington College was sponsored once again by The Dedanists’ Foundation and attracted a huge entry of 36 junior players. The event is a junior inter-club competition run on a handicap basis designed to include predominantly youngsters aged 12-15 with handicaps ranging from 45-90. The fact that this number of juniors were keen and able to attend so near to Christmas is a good indication of the growing popularity of our wonderful game at a junior level.
The “B”grade event for players over 70 handicap was played on the Saturday. After many close fought matches the final between Billy White (78 h/c) and George Carter (78 h/c) was won by George 6-1 6-1.
The “A” event for players of 70 handicap and better was played on the Sunday. After two excellent semi-finals Max Trueman (51 h/c) defeated James Rossiter (53 h/c) in a hard fought final. Our thanks go out to Dan Jones and Adam Player for excellent marking throughout and Wellington Real Tennis Club for the use of their wonderful court.
The tournament is part of the Foundation’s programme for encouraging and helping clubs to recruit more schools and youngsters into the game.
The Peter Luck-Hille Cup Tournament 2018/9
This tournament is sponsored by The Dedanists’ Foundation. It is part of the Foundation’s programme for encouraging and helping clubs to recruit more schools and youngsters into the game.
This event is a junior inter-club competition run on a handicap basis designed to include predominantly youngsters aged 12-15 with handicaps ranging from 45-90.
The Charity, with the assistance of our Ambassador Paul Weaver and Director Josh Farrall, successfully ran the fifth Peter Luck-Hille Cup in 2017/18. This inter-club junior team competition is aimed at giving juniors who may be below the elite level a chance to take part in team matches and meet similar juniors from other clubs. The 2018/9 tournament is now under way with a record entry of 10 clubs now taking part. We have are now just over half way through this years tournament and the current league positions are as follows:-
March 2nd/3rd Radley v Bristol, Oxford v Wellington,
March 30th/31st Prested v Radley, Bristol v Seacourt, Oxford v Oratory, Wellington v RTC
April 20th/21st Bristol v Queens, Seacourt v Radley, Wellington v Petworth, RTC v Oxford
Grand Final May 26th at Wellington College
Inter-University Real Tennis Tournament 2018
Held at Cambridge & Newmarket November 22nd -25th
Exeter University Team
Middlesex University Team
Over 4 days from 22nd November the Cambridge & Newmarket courts hosted the Annual Inter-Universities Real Tennis Tournament which was sponsored by The Dedanists’ Foundation and Pol Roger. The Dedanists’ Foundation award grants to Universities that have a registered students Real Tennis club. Our grants allow the students in these clubs to regularly travel to and play their nearest Real Tennis Court. As well as funding we also help with the design and supply of leaflets to attract new members each September.
The Universities that took part this year were St. Mary’s, Oxford, Exeter, Bristol, Newcastle, Durham, Middlesex, St. Andrews and hosts Cambridge. In all a total of 65 students, many of whom had only recently taken up the game, took part. It was a most enjoyable event with a tournament dinner taking place on the Saturday evening. This dinner was attended by nearly all of the students, plus the Cambridge pros, Chris Bray (Middlesex) and Paul Weaver representing the Dedanists’ Foundation. Paul took the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of the Foundation and managed to do so quite early before the effects of the plentiful supply of Pol Roger Champagne had taken effect on his audience!
The individual handicap tournament was won by Felix Delaforce (Exeter) who defeated Juan Camacho (Middlesex) in the final. The Cup itself was won by Oxford who defeated the hosts Cambridge 2 rubbers to 1 in a thrilling final.
Click here for detailed report by Cambridge University student Ben Geytenbeek
Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award - Real Tennis
The Dedanists’ Foundation is promoting a new initiative that should help create closer links between Clubs and local schools in their area.
Real Tennis has always been an option for school pupils embarking on the DofE Award scheme but until now it has been rarely chosen as a subject. The initiative led by Dan Jones Wellington and Dedanists Foundation Directors, Simon Roundell and Josh Farrall, started with the creation of a viable course manual. This is a structured approach to guide pupils through to achieving a Bronze DofE Award.
This gives clubs a great opportunity to approach local schools and the DofE organiser based there in order to promote Real Tennis as a viable choice of subject.
Prested have been piloting the scheme with very positive results. Hatfield, Jesmond, Manchester and Seacourt have also already connected with the right people in their local area. A successful DofE course at a club should lead on to further applicants in following years as the word spreads about the credibility of the course and the fun of playing Real Tennis.
The Dedanists’ Foundation has increased it’s grants budget by a third for 2018/9 to allow many clubs to launch the scheme in their areas.
Hayling College 2018
For the second consecutive year Seacourt has approached their local school to bolster the club's junior membership. Last year in an attempt to kick start a junior renaissance at Seacourt The Dedanists' Foundation offered to fund 6 free junior memberships at the club (normally £75) plus 3 month’s free group coaching. The Board at Seacourt who were obviously delighted decided to match our offer by also offering 6 more free places.
This year we were pleased to offer the college the same opportunity and on September 24th Paul Weaver, the Dedanists' Foundation Ambassador, took an assembly at the school. Paul gave a short talk to the youngsters about the history of Real Tennis and pointed out the astonishing fact that 9 of the worlds' current professionals had previously attended school at Hayling College. Paul was accompanied by Seacourt Professional Aaron Flippence and current college pupils Max Trueman & William Flyn who showed off the U14 & U16 British Singles trophies that they recently won at Queens.The assembly was closed by showing the new Dedanists’ Foundation Real Tennis Promotional Video which went down really well.
Within a couple of days Seacourt has already received 8 applications for the junior memberships!. The “class of 2018” will soon start their first coaching sessions and this initiative should build year on year into a great new junior section at Seacourt. The Dedanists' Foundation believe that this format could be a blueprint for many other clubs to attract new junior players.
The Peter Luck-Hille Cup 2019
The PLH Cup is an inter-club junior competition that encourages junior players to get involved in club matches for the first time and meet juniors from other clubs. It has been running since 2014 and is aimed at the average junior player rather than elite players as they already have plenty of other junior tournaments to play.
This coming season a record 10 clubs entered teams, Seacourt, Petworth, RTC, Radley, Queen’s, Wellington, Prested, Bristol, Oratory and Oxford. The teams will compete in 2 round robin groups of 5 clubs with the winner of each group going forward to the grand final at Wellington College on May 26th 2019.
This tournament is sponsored by The Dedanists’ Foundation. It is part of the Foundation’s programme for encouraging and helping clubs to recruit more schools and youngsters into the game. It is a junior inter-club competition run on a handicap basis designed to include predominantly youngsters aged 12-15 with handicaps ranging from 50-90.
The Peter Luck-Hille Cup 2017/8
Final -Wellington College May 27th 2018
Match Scores - Seacourt names first:-
James Medlow (51.4) vs George Parsons (70.8) 3/6
Jessica Medlow (68.8) vs Ross Morrison (74.0) 6/2
Barnaby Tambling (91.8) vs James Parsons (86.5) 6/1
James Medlow & Jessica Medlow (60.4) vs George Parsons & Ross Morrison (75.3) 4/6
James Medlow & Barnaby Tambling (64.2) vs George Parsons & James Parsons (78.6) 2/6
Jessica Medlow & Barnaby Tambling (76.1) vs Ross Morrison & James Parsons (79.6) 6/5
Match Score 3-3 Seacourt won on games
Bristol Juniors meet the Earl of Wessex
Over the past year The Dedanists' Foundation has been funding a revised junior programme at the Bristol Club. The funding has been used to hold 2 junior open days and contribute to ongoing group coaching sessions. The Bristol club's junior coordinator, Chris Harland, has also attended our Junior Coordinator's course held at Wellington and run by Paul Weaver & Dan Jones.
Recently some of these juniors have had a chance to meet and play tennis with HRH The Earl of Wessex who visited the club on the 21st February as part of his nationwide tour of all the Real Tennis clubs in the Uk raising funds for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
The Smart Grille Project
The Dedanists' Foundation has funded the development of an electronic Grille Board that illuminates when hit by a ball! The "Smart Grille" can be switched on when required and it's objective is to enhance the fun element of junior sessions particularly for those trying out the game for the first time.