16th July 2018

16th July 2018 was a momentous day for Real Tennis at Prested.

Honoured to be visited by HRH the Earl of Wessex as part of his 2018 Real Tennis Challenge, our fantastic team got together over 80 local youngsters all keen to learn a bit more about the sport.

The Earl arrived by helicopter from his home at Bagshot Park, and was soon on court with youngsters after meeting various local dignitaries at Prested Health Club.

It was an informal visit, with plenty of laughs and good natured banter on court and off. The Earl was on good form and enjoyed chatting with many of the children, some of whom were interviewed by local press and the ITV crew who were present.

After a busy morning with the youngsters, Prince Edward continued the action on court by playing two sets of doubles with selected Prested members, and a final set with Mike Carter who built the courts back in 1999, Rob Fahey (current Men’s world champion and Prested resident professional) and Chris Lindsey.

The last set was a fiercely fought one, back and forward from deuce to advantage and back again, resulting in the end with a win for the Earl and Chris.

Time to go have a lie down? Not a bit of it! After chatting and mingling with the guests who had arrived to watch the last set and enjoy a champagne reception, the Earl retired briefly and reappeared in black tie to host a gala dinner in the hall.  Walking across the car parks to the hall in the beautiful July evening sunshine, the Earl stopped to pose for a photograph with Prested staff who had assembled to greet him and then it was into the Orangery for a beautiful three-course dinner.

All in all it was a great day for Real Tennis, for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and for Real Tennis. We’d like to thank everyone involved and hope you had a great time if you were here for any of it.

(Photographs above courtesy of DofE – please do not reproduce without permission)

Staff at Prested with HRH the Earl of Wessex

 

HRH visit covered by Colchester Gazette