759. Wendy Glasper
A volunteer from Darlington is inspiring and empowering people with disabilities to play tennis.
Wendy Glasper has led the way in empowering visually impaired people to play tennis in the North East. In 2003, Wendy realised that visually impaired cricket was the only visually impaired sport readily accessible in the North East. Wendy decided the change this by setting up what is now the North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club. The club now has three sites across the North East in Newcastle, Sunderland and Stockton, and over 2,500 hours of tennis sessions have now been delivered to the visually impaired community at the club. In addition to undertaking visits to local schools to encourage students to try visually impaired tennis, Wendy herself has enjoyed international success in the sport. In May 2017, Wendy became the first British female to win a set at international-level visually impaired tennis.
In a personal letter to Wendy, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Your work with the North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club is helping to make tennis more accessible for the visually impaired across the region. You should be proud of the training sessions you have delivered and the direct impact you are having on the physical and emotional wellbeing of players.”
“I am so proud of what I have achieved setting up the North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club getting my Level 2 coaching, I never ever thought I could be a coach never mind being a tennis coach. I love volunteering and giving something back to others that wouldn’t have the chance to play tennis. Volunteering has given me the confidence to coach tennis when I used to be so shy! Players give me a buzz inside when they achieve even a small thing. It is great when I see totally blind players win their first competition.”
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