Channel 1 Los Angeles
Eighty key workers from the NHS, London Ambulance Service and Transport for London have been nominated to take part in ‘Rally Together’, a collaboration between City Hall and Wimbledon to show London’s gratitude to some of the people who kept the capital safe and moving during the worst of the pandemic.
Over two days the participants will be given the opportunity to play on the same courts graced by the world’s top players during The Championships, as well as a tour of the grounds. The AELTC is a private club and the courts are normally only available to members, their guests and Championship players – making this a unique opportunity to experience one of London’s greatest sporting venues.
Since the cancellation of the 2020 Championships, The AELTC and the Wimbledon Foundation have used the organisation’s facilities, resources and £1.2m of charitable giving to aid London’s Covid-19 response and recovery efforts. Alongside substantial financial help, this has included: opening one of the Club’s kitchens to cook 200 hot meals every day for those in need in Merton and Wandsworth, donating towels and toiletries earmarked for The Championships to homeless charities and giving 2,600 punnets of strawberries to NHS hospital staff and key workers in south west London. Opening up the courts to some key workers today is the start of The AELTC’s plans to thank key workers over the coming year.
‘Rally Together’ is the latest part of the Mayor’s #LondonTogether campaign, highlighting the incredible response of the community, individuals and businesses to Coronavirus and thanking those on the front line for their hard work and sacrifice.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “Londoners owe a debt of gratitude to every key worker who kept our city going and looked after us all during the darkest days of the pandemic.
“I am delighted to be able to join just a few of these selfless and remarkable people on the hallowed courts of Wimbledon today and I want to thank the All England Club for making this possible.
“None of us are claiming the pandemic is over or the virus has gone away – many of those here today will be back on the front line in the coming days. But it’s important we take a moment to say ‘thank you’ and also remind ourselves of the importance of exercise and physical activity – whether that be knocking a tennis ball around with friends or just going for a jog – in helping maintain our mental wellbeing in these most challenging of times.”
AELTC Chairman, Ian Hewitt, said: “It has never been more important than this year to demonstrate that Wimbledon has a meaningful role to play as a force for good, particularly locally, but also nationally and internationally.
“We wanted to find a way to say a heartfelt thank you, on behalf of the Club, to those who have been on the front line of the coronavirus response, showing extraordinary dedication and selfless contribution.
“We are delighted and proud to have worked in partnership with the Mayor of London to invite key workers from the NHS, TFL and the Ambulance Services to join us to play tennis on the Club’s wonderful grass courts. We hope that it will be an experience to remember for all involved.”