Cliff Richard backs Cheshire Charity Tennis Marathon
10th June 2010
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Sir Cliff Richard is backing an extraordinary campaign led by a Cheshire man, Gary Ward, to raise a staggering £100,000 for Claire House Children’s Hospice.


With the help of a small group of friends, Gary, 48, a tennis coach from Chester (pictured here with Cliff), plans to raise the money through two innovative events.


The first, a 24-hour “tennis marathon”, will take place at Chester’s Old Hall Country Club & Spa on Saturday 12th June. Open to applicants of any age or ability, the marathon will start at 6pm and carry on through the night until 6pm the following day.


Cliff comments: "I find it incredibly inspiring that the people of Cheshire are pulling together and raising money for a such a great cause, in such an innovate way. I'm an avid tennis fan myself and would have loved to be there.


“Claire House offers a haven for terminally ill children and I often donate to the charity via my trust. I urge everyone to enter – no matter what your ability or fitness level - as every entrant will help Gary reach his goal.”


Entrants to the marathon will take turns to play single or double fun matches whilst a bbq will be fired up during the whole event, with delicious food and wine from local suppliers – perfect for post-match sustenance!


Along with a range of fun tennis group games, there will also be a radar to test your fastest serve, a ball machine to challenge your fitness and record your highest rally scores for the fitness enthusiasts.


Gary explains: “Money raised will have a significant impact on the lives of terminally ill children, and their families whilst making the most of their limited time. As a charitable organisation, Claire House does not receive any Government or NHS funding and needs £2million a year to meet its costs.


“Our aim is to raise £10,000 by having 100 adults and juniors players sponsored to play continuously throughout the day and night. We still need many more applicants. Age and fitness levels don’t matter – we have entrants ranging from 7 to 70 years old!”


The second challenge Gary will embark on to raise the further £90,000 is a 30-day 3152 mile bike journey across America - from the edge of the Pacific Ocean in San Diego to the shores of the Atlantic in Florida - in September with three friends.


Equivalent to running 30 marathons back to back with no ‘rest days’, the journey will see the four men – none of whom are professional athletes - travel through difficult terrain in temperatures exceeding 100F, completing the staggering distance in only thirty days.


If you are a local business wanting to sponsor a court during the tennis marathon or you and some friends would like to take part, please contact Gary Ward on 07836 273271 or


To make a donation, please log on at

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