Wednesday, 22 June 2016 17:54 PM BST
Barnardo's Ball Boys celebrate special relationship with Wimbledon

To mark Barnardo’s 150th anniversary the children’s charity is commemorating its special relationship with the All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships at Wimbledon.

For twenty years from 1946 all the Wimbledon ball boys came from Barnardo’s Goldings school in Hertfordshire where they learnt a valuable trade to help get them into work. Being a ball boy was a prized role that had a positive impact on their lives and contributed towards the success of The Championships. Only one third of the schools’ students aged 14 to 18 became ball boys, so competition to be selected was fierce.

To celebrate this partnership some of Barnardo’s former ball boys returned to Wimbledon to share memories and swap anecdotes about Wimbledon champions, the roaring crowds, and of course the strawberries and cream.

They also met and watched today’s ball boys and girls training for this year’s Championships and compared notes on their duties. 

All England Lawn Tennis Club chief executive Richard Lewis said:

 “Wimbledon, Barnardo’s and the young people who came to The Championships as our Ball Boys enjoy a special relationship. It is a relationship based on the opportunity for shared experience and comradeship, and one which for 20 years wrote its own uplifting story into the tradition and fabric of The Championships. The memories of an enjoyable and special experience remain strong and it has been a privilege for us to welcome back our former ball boys to Wimbledon.  Congratulations to Barnardo’s on celebrating your 150th anniversary and for the fantastic work you continue to do.”

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: 

“We are proud to be celebrating 50 years since Barnardo’s boys had the privilege of being ‘ball boys’ at the Wimbledon championships. Being ‘ball boys’ for 20 years was an opportunity for some Barnardo’s students to be part of something truly special and inspirational, and as we mark our 150th anniversary, it’s wonderful to recognise the positive impact both Wimbledon and the support from our charity has had on their lives. From Barnardo’s beginnings to the present day, we continue to provide care, support and training to hundreds of thousands of children, young people and families every year. 

To learn more about Barnardo’s 150th year #150andAlways and its work click here.