The Dedanists' Foundation
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, Josh Farrall, Paul Weaver or Julian Wilkinson. Alternatively, you can donate by visiting our donations page.
Our Good Work Continues
All of the UK Real Tennis courts are now open again and our good work continues. The Dedanists’ Foundation is delighted to announce 3 recent grants that have been made to The Hyde Club, the Investing in Professionals programme and supporting 2 young professionals.
Latest news .....
Junior Open Day at The Oratory
A very successful Junior Open was held at The Oratory on July 3rd
Success for new pro team at Jesmond
Our investment in supporting the new pro team at Jesmond has already paid dividends.....
British U18 Handicap Tournament
This event took place over the weekend of 19th/20th December. The "B" grade event was completed but Wellington closed its doors at that point so the "A" grade competition has been postponed.
Peter Luck-Hille Cup 2020
The remaining four junior club teams, Seacourt, Petworth, Oxford and RTC played the semi-finals and final of this year's event at Wellington on Sunday 13th December.
Train the Trainer Day
The latest in a series of one-day courses was held at Wellington on December 18th.
See below for further details on these new initiatives
Success for Junior Open Day at the Oratory
The Dedanists’ Foundation were delighted to sponsor a Junior Open Day at the Oratory Real Tennis Club on Saturday 3rd July. The Foundation contributes £1500 per year towards an enhanced remuneration package for assistant professional Levi Gale and this has enabled him to stay in the game and given him the opportunity to create this initiative at the club.
The Dedanists’ Foundation designed and printed marketing material to promote this event and Levi worked hard to get juniors from local state schools to come along and try out the game for the very first time. On the day 15 youngsters attended, ranging in age from 8-14. On court coaching was provided by Levi and Claire Fahey for a total of 3 hours with the parents also having a go in the last ½ hour!
Everyone very much enjoyed the experience and Levi has already started planning some follow-up sessions during the summer holidays for those who took part. Plans are also underway to hold another Junior Open day in the next couple of months for those who were interested but unable to come along on the 3rd July.
Well done Levi and well done the Oratory!
Dedanists’ Foundation Junior becomes an IIP Apprentice Professional
18-year-old Alex Machin has become the second young player to join the new IIP Apprentice Professional Scheme.
As part of The Dedanists’ Foundation plan to reach out to potential new players in state schools, Dan Jones visited Edgebarrow School in Crowthorne, Berks. Dan offered four juniors a chance to try out real tennis at The Wellington Club with the cost of coaching and courts covered by The Foundation.
Alex, who was 15 years old at the time, was one of that group and took to the game of real tennis immediately. Further sponsored coaching followed which has now led to his successful application to become an apprentice real tennis professional under the IIP Scheme. He will take up his new position on the 25th August at the Wellington club and is determined to continue the process that introduced him to the game.
British Junior Handicap Singles Championships 2020
The first National tournament to be held since the re-opening of real tennis courts took place at Wellington on Saturday 5th June 2021.
The British Junior Handicap Singles event for 2020 was completed at last! The competition was sponsored by The Dedanists’ Foundation as part of our program to promote increased junior participation in real tennis.
4 preliminary round-robin groups provided the 4 semi-finalists, Charlie Enticknap, Cesca Sweet and Willem Sweet from Wellington plus Bertie Vallat from the Queens Club. Two great semi-finals resulted in the first ever final featuring twin brother v twin sister, Cesca & Willem Sweet.
In the final, some very hard hitting from Willem did not phase Cesca who gave as good as she got! Her sheer athleticism, along with a decent handicap advantage saw her through to an 8-2 win. It was a very watchable match fuelled with the added ingredient of sibling rivalry but all played in an excellent spirit.
The trophy was presented by tournament organiser, Paul Weaver thanked the Dedanist’ Foundation for their support and noted that Cesca was the first girl to win the coveted trophy in its’ 25 year history!
Semi-Finals Willem Sweet bt Charlie Enticknap 6-4 Cesca Sweet bt Bertie Vallat 6-1
Final Cesca Sweet bt Willem Sweet 8-2
Early success for The Dedanists' Foundation initiatives at Jesmond
At the beginning of 2020, Mark Eadle took over as Head Pro at the Jesmond Club with his son Zak Eadle as assistant. We were determined to seize the opportunity presented by this "new start" at the club by supporting the new pros in any we could to help increase the level of junior participation at Jesmond.
Initially, we agreed to provide the club with a grant of £1500 to help them develop a strong junior section. We then joined forces with The Dedanists' Society and the T&RA to provide a £5000 grant to Zak Eadle to ensure that he stayed in the professional game during the long Covid shutdown.
We are now pleased to report that considerable progress has already been made. Local state school Whitley Bay High School has signed up and included Real Tennis as a topic in their "A Level" PE Course. Also, Mark tells us that he has already received positive feedback from teachers at other schools in the area to his social media posts about the Whitley Bay High School project.
" Whitley Bay High School have had a great day learning about Real Tennis. This is a topic we teach as part of our A Level PE course and it was great to give our students an opportunity to play the sport themselves.The game is very technical, so it was great to have such fantastic coaching from Mark and Zak. Jesmond Real Tennis Club were very welcoming during our visit and we have all left with big smiles on our faces! Thank you!
PE Teacher - Whitley Bay High School "
U18 British Handicap Singles - Sponsored by The Dedanists' Foundation held at Wellington 19th/20th December 2020
This year’s tournament was held at the Wellington court and was interrupted mid-way by the sudden change in the Covid tier structure, with Wellington going into Tier 4. As a result only the “B” competition was completed with the “A” event to take place as soon as possible in the new year.
This year the entry was capped at 24 juniors to make it easier to comply with the Tier 3 Covid regulations. The 12 youngsters with the highest handicaps played on the Saturday in the “B” competition. For many of them it was their first taste of tournament play and there were many close fought matches.
In the end it came down to a final between two young players from Wellington, Tanish Mehta and Poppy Hinds. The match was all square at 3-3 all before Tanish took charge and went on to win 6-3 to win the “B” title. Many thanks go out to Wellington for holding the event in these most difficult of circumstances and to The Dedanists’ Foundation ofcourse for their continued support and sponsorship.
Train the Trainer Day held at Wellington
18th December 2020
In the final day before the new Covid restrictions came into force, Dan Jones and Paul Weaver delivered a one-day intensive “Train the Trainer” course at the Wellington court.
The recipient of the course was Levi Gale who is currently based at The Oratory. Levi is receiving financial support for an 18 month period from a group of sponsors, The Dedanists’ Foundation, The Dedanists Society and the T&RA.
It was agreed by all funding partners that Levi would benefit from attending this course and that it was also a basic requirement for all new young professionals who are funded in this way. Paul & Dan have been developing junior talent at Seacourt and Wellington over many years. In conjunction with the Dedanists Foundation who sponsor the course, they have designed this one-day session to create a structure for recruiting young players into the game and retaining their enthusiasm by allowing them to learn and enjoy our wonderful game.
Levi will now take this knowledge back to the Oratory and work on the creation of a strong new junior section at his club and his progress will be reviewed by Paul on a 3 monthly basis.
Peter Luck-Hille Cup 2020
Semi-Finals and Final completed - Just in time!
On Sunday 13th December the 2 semi-finals and the Final of the 2020 PLH Cup were played at Wellington. In the first Semi-Final RTC took on Petworth. It went down to the last match after Toby Barton defeated Oli Hampson-Evans 8/7 for Petworth and Henry Weekes levelled it up by beating Will Fountain 8/4.. Fin Hanley won the deciding match beating Barnaby Lawford 8/2.
The second semi-final resulted in a 3/0 win for Seacourt over Oxford, sounds like a convincing win but all 3 matches went down to the wire with Seacourt winning them all 8/7!
The final, RTC vs Seacourt, was another great match. It kicked off with Evie Tambling (Seacourt) beating Oli Hampson-Evans 8/6 then Liam Ireson closed out his match against Henry Weekes 8/3 in a match that was a lot closer than the score suggests! Fin Handley pulled a match back for RTC by beating James Walker to make it 2/1 overall but it was Seacourt who lifted the trophy!
This competition, is sponsored by The Dedanists’ Foundation and run on a handicap basis designed predominantly for youngsters aged 12 -15 with handicaps 60 - 90. This inter-club junior team competition is aimed at giving juniors who are relatively new to the game a chance to take part in team matches and meet their junior counterparts from other clubs.
Dedanists’ Foundation Honours Board installed at The Queen’s Club
The names of all our Diamond and Founder Patrons appear on the new Dedanists’ Foundation Honours Board, which has been erected at The Queen’s Club. It has taken pride of place on the West Court dedans wall. Our sincere thanks go out to all Patrons without whom we would not be able to carry out the important work we do for junior Real Tennis.Thanks also to Ros Niland, Gary Neal and Simon Mansfield from The Queen’s Club.
The Hyde Club
The Dedanists’ Foundation has awarded The Hyde Real Tennis Club a £500 cash grant for recruiting and coaching juniors. Many of these juniors will be state school pupils. This grant money may be used for almost anything that would help to recruit and coach more juniors. The DF wants the club to be properly paid for the work that is done by Stephen Grier who coaching juniors at the club. Our objective is that he should be able to develop and maintain a thriving and self-perpetuating junior club with up to 20 or so members and a strong sense of identity. We hope and expect to increase our grant funding over future years to help you to achieve this.
The Dedanists’ Foundation has also donated £5000 to the Hyde Real Tennis Club’s fund for purchasing the court from their landlord, the West Dorset Sports Trust. Our position is “No court – No junior tennis!”. The club’s purchase of the court secures its long term future and therefore it’s long term capacity to recruit new young players from the local community, especially state schools. The successful purchase was completed in September 2020.
Investing In Professionals
The Dedanists’ Foundation has agreed to make a £4000 grant towards the funding of the IiP programme. This programme offers new trainees and existing young professionals a highly professional educational environment in order to develop a meaningful career in Real Tennis. In tandem with court training and court-related skills, the programme offers learning and training in the business skills relevant to becoming an accredited Real Tennis professional or to manage a sports facility. Emphasising the inclusive objectives of IiP it encourages all new trainees to join the programme as Apprentices. Access to the programme can be made through a number of entry paths depending on the age and training already undertaken by the individual trainee. Existing trainee professionals are also encouraged to join the programme to in-fill any skills they require to achieve accreditation.
Support for Young Professionals
The Dedanists’ Foundation has agreed to commit to a one-year package of financial support for the Oratory and Jesmond Dene Real Tennis clubs. We have awarded £1500 to each club to enhance the remuneration package of their young professionals and for the development of their junior Real Tennis sections. This will be done in partnership with the T&RA and The Dedanists’ Society
Professional Apprentice & Training Initiatives
Our game needs to recruit more young players to become real tennis professionals. The Dedanists’ Foundation, together with the Dedanists’ Society and the T&RA, is working with two clubs on new initiatives to meet this challenge.
At Cambridge, three school leavers are doing a six month, gap year apprenticeship to give them direct experience of the work of a real tennis professional and to encourage them to choose this as a career. They have attended the one day, train-the-trainer workshop on how to recruit and retain juniors that is run by Dan Jones and Paul Weaver at Wellington. They have worked for a week at Seacourt to experience how other clubs operate.
At Middlesex, a recent graduate, Josh King, is working part time as a trainee professional on the basis that the club professionals provide the training and the Dedanists’ Foundation, together with the Society and the T&RA, provide Josh with sufficient income.
We hope that these initiatives will provide a blueprint for other clubs to follow.
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 competition has reached semi-final stage but is currently on hold due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The final has been re-arranged to take place on September 12th.
At Wellington on September 12th 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