If there’s one thing that spectators at Wimbledon enjoy as much as watching tennis, it's queueing. Two days before The Championships begin, tents start popping up along the pavement as people begin queuing to join the Queue.
Wimbledon remains one of the few sporting events where premium tickets are for sale on the day and where, thanks to the Ticket Resale scheme, you can buy a Show Court ticket for as little as £10. If you’re prepared to queue, that is.
The Ticket Resale scheme was introduced back in 1954 and has since raised over £3 million for charity. Today, the proceeds are distributed to charity by the Wimbledon Foundation, the charitable arm of The All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships.
This year, Ticket Resale raised a record £173,000, and for the tenth year running, was match funded by HSBC, official banking partner of The Championships, taking the total up to an impressive £346,000.
The Wimbledon Foundation has this year made donations totalling £100,000 to military and emergency service benevolent funds in recognition of the role their personnel play as stewards. Each year, more than 600 members of the Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the London Fire Brigade volunteer their time to be Service Stewards at The Championships, assisting spectators in a tradition that stretches back over 60 years to when the Armed Forces helped the Club re-establish The Championships after the Second World War.
Following the tragic events that took place earlier this year, including the terror attacks in Manchester and London and the devastating Grenfell Tower fire, the Foundation made donations from Ticket Resale to the British Red Cross Solidarity Fund and the London Community Foundation Grenfell Tower Appeal.
The Honorary Stewards at The Championships are also invited to nominate charities to receive donations. This year they chose Princess Alice Hospice and the Stroke Association. BBC Children in Need and Place2Be, the two charities represented by the children who performed the coin toss at the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals, also received donations.
Several local charities, including two homeless shelters – Glass Door in Wandsworth and the YMCA Merton Winter Night Shelter – have also benefitted. Both shelters, run in partnership with local faith groups and by volunteers, give rough sleepers a warm dry place to sleep during the cold winter months as well as a hot meal and support that helps people get back on their feet.
Nicky Zisman, founder and co-ordinator of the Merton Winter Night Shelter said: “The donation from the Wimbledon Foundation is a huge relief, because it gives our work stability and enables us to boost the quality of how we help our guests. Guests arrive at a pretty low ebb, but just that show of love, support and care helps people pick themselves up. It’s about making them feel someone believes in them.”
The Ticket Resale scheme is a unique way of ensuring tickets no longer required can be enjoyed by someone else, whilst raising funds to help make a difference to people’s lives locally and beyond. Standing in a queue, has rarely been so worthwhile.