Think of Wimbledon and the word tradition comes quickly to mind. The world’s oldest tennis tournament is renowned for its unique traditions – the all-white dress code, the way players are addressed, its Royal patronage and its playing surface to name but a few.
For spectators, one of the best traditions - along with strawberries and cream and The Queue - is the Ticket Resale scheme, whereby Show Courts tickets no longer required are re-sold for charity. Run by a small team of Honorary Stewards from a kiosk at the top of Aorangi Terrace, the Ticket Resale scheme has raised over £2.5 million for charity since it began back in 1954.
This year, despite a very wet first week of The Championships, the Ticket Resale scheme raised a record £170,682 which, for the ninth year running, has been generously match funded by HSBC, the official banking partner of The Championships, making the total an impressive £341,364.
The proceeds of the Ticket Resale scheme are distributed to charity by the Wimbledon Foundation, the charitable arm of The All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships. A total of £100,000 has been donated to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, Fire Fighters Charity, the Metropolitan & City Police Orphans Fund, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity in recognition that so many military and emergency service personnel give up their time to volunteer as stewards during The Championships.
Lauren Wileman, Head of Fundraising at the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity said, “We are so grateful to the Wimbledon Foundation for giving back to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel who enthusiastically support The Championships each year with their time. The Ticket Resale scheme is an inspired way to raise funds for charity in return for a great time courtside and the monies donated will enable us to support Naval Service families wherever the need is greatest.”
Donations totalling £165,000 have also been made to sporting and local charities including The Dan Maskell Tennis Trust, Fields In Trust, Give It Your Max, Mitcham Town Community Trust, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) and St George’s Hospital Charity. The Honorary Stewards who run the Ticket Resale kiosk are also invited to choose charities to receive donations and this year nominated SUDEP Action, Helen and Douglas House and Princess Alice Hospice.
QEF Neuro Rehabilitation Services provide specialist care for those with acquired injuries. In July 2013, aged just 26, Alfie was attacked in the street resulting in a traumatic brain injury which left him unable to communicate and with severe mobility problems. After almost a year in hospital, Alfie became a resident at QEF Neuro Rehabilitation Services where thanks to expert care and support he has made a huge amount of progress particularly in his spoken communication. Alfie is now able to transfer himself from his wheelchair to the shower and his bed and will shortly be moving to an independent living unit at the centre, a significant step towards being able to go home.
Like strawberries and cream, the Ticket Resale scheme is a well-established Wimbledon tradition, a tradition that’s making a difference to the lives of many in the local community and further afield.