There are many unique things about Wimbledon. The all-white dress code, a retractable roof, a pigeon-scaring hawk named Rufus, and of course, grass. For spectators, one of the best things about Wimbledon is the unique Ticket Resale scheme whereby Show Courts tickets no longer required are re-sold for charity. It means otherwise empty seats are filled and those who have patiently queued may be rewarded with a Show Court ticket for as little as £5.
The Ticket Resale scheme began back in 1954 and since then has raised over £2 million for charity. A dedicated team of eight Honorary Stewards, with 127 years of experience between them, man the kiosk located at the top of Aorangi Terrace. From 3pm onwards, as tickets begin to be handed in by spectators leaving the Grounds, they are re-sold at £5 fpr No.2 Court and £10 for Centre Court and No.1 Court.
This year, the Ticket Resale scheme raised £159,311, and for the eighth year running, will be match funded by HSBC, the official banking partner of The Championships. The proceeds are distributed to charity through the Wimbledon Foundation, the charitable arm of the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Recipients include local charities in the boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth and various benevolent funds; the latter in recognition of the long-standing working relationship between The Championships and military and emergency service personnel who give up so much of their time to volunteer as stewards.
Two previous beneficiary charities are ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the national charity of the British Army, and Sparks, the children’s medical research charity. ABF The Soldiers’ Charity provide financial assistance to all soldiers, veterans and their families when in need helping in areas such as debt relief, mobility assistance, education bursaries, care home fees and respite breaks.
Craig Paterson, 24, was severely injured from a gunshot wound to the head whilst serving in Afghanistan in July 2011. The Soldiers’ Charity helped cover the costs of adapting Craig’s home and provided a laptop which has allowed him to undertake a computing qualification to better prepare him for life outside the Army. After doing a health and safety course, the fees of which were covered by The Soldier’s Charity, Craig has now gained employment in this sector and has made a successful transition to civilian life.
Sparks are using a donation from last year’s Ticket Resale to help fund pioneering research into Juvenile Arthritis which affects around 12,000 children in the UK. Unfortunately, less than 50 per cent of children respond fully to the first-line drug treatment and many can suffer side-effects. Sparks aims to develop a test that will predict whether or not a child will respond well to medication.
Joe was just six years old when he was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis which left him unable to walk at times. Thanks to research by Sparks and the development of a new drug, he’s now a fit 14 year old who stars for his local football team.
The Wimbledon Foundation’s aim is to use the resources and heritage of the All England Club and The Championships to change people’s lives. The Ticket Resale scheme is certainly doing that.