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The Lawn Tennis Writers’ Annual Awards lunch on Wednesday 27th November.
by April Tod
Each year the Lawn Tennis Writers’ Association holds a traditional annual awards lunch in Centre Court’s fabulously refurbished debenture lounge at the All England Lawn Tennis Club and again this year’s lunch was a well attended event by the great and the good from the world of tennis.
All seemingly enjoyed delicious food, lots of laughter and plenty of wine, plus gin & tonics generously donated by Fever-Tree, sponsors of Queen’s Club tournament, and Silent Pool gin, a deliciously floral based gin and on tap throughout the afternoon. The spoils of a delicious three course lunch started with the exotic sounding Shiro Hoi Sin Mackerel starter and followed by a tasty Rump of Cambrian Mountain lamb, dessert was a mouth watering Chocolate and Hazelnut tart and judging by the number of empty plates, lunch was enjoyed by all.
Proceedings kicked off with an hour long mid-day drinks reception after which guests were asked to take their seats in the dining room, a process which often takes up to fifteen minutes before all 150 guests are comfortably seated and the cue for the first course to be served. Slotted between the first and main courses came the chairman’s welcome speech this year delivered by LTWA’s newly elected chairman, Simon Briggs from the Daily Telegraph who took over as LTWA chairman after this year’s Wimbledon.
It is never an easy job addressing a room full of tennis aficionados but Simon did a sterling job referring to several poignant points and issues that had occurred over the past year. Judy Murray, nominee for the LTWA's Services to Tennis Award, was a special guest on the chairman’s table alongside AELTC’s new chairman Ian Hewitt, CEO Richard Lewis and several other dignitaries from the world of tennis including former pro player Clare Wood who now runs the Wimbledon Tennis Club across Church Road.
Awards were presented before dessert and Judy gave an inspiring speech mostly promoting the need for children from all backgrounds to be given opportunities to learn to play tennis. Dan Evans, the new British Number One was the nominee for The Player of The Year but as he was unable to attend the lunch, he had asked Ross Hutchins to accept the award on his behalf.
Once the more serious matters were over with, it was time for the frivolous side of lunch with comedian and author Tony Hawks hosting the legendary charity raffle and auction with the help of TV presenter and commentator Annabel Croft. With Tony’s innate sense of humour he soon had everyone in fits of laughter as he proceeded, first with the auction and then the raffle which not only raised around £5,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease charity but also a lot of laughs from his amusing dialogue of jokes and quips.