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Tennis marathon aims to end lockdown pain

L-R: Ben Llewelyn, Diana Senior, Peter Wilson. Credit: Mike Hall Photography

Double act Peter Wilson and Ben Llewelyn aim to smash 16 hours of Tennis to raise awareness of children’s mental health on the longest Saturday of the year.

The Monmouthshire dads are aiming to raise awareness of children’s mental health issues by playing tennis for over 16 hours without a break. Ben Llewelyn and Peter Wilson, both parents of three and keen tennis players, will be aiming to play from dawn at 4.51 am until dusk at 9.33pm on the longest Saturday of the year.

They have partnered to raise funds with local charity, the Ted Senior Foundation, in order to fund a new trial project in Monmouth’s schools. The funds they raise will be used to train and educate peers and teachers to spot signs of any emerging mental health issues amongst the school children. A trial project at Bristol University found that a peer counsellor system can be extremely effective at providing support when children and students need it most. Anyone wishing to find out more about the event can go to justgiving.com/fundraising/dawntildusktennischallenge

Ben Llewelyn, 47, said: “I can’t quite believe we’re doing this but it seemed a good idea over a lockdown zoom call back in the winter. Pete seemed to jump at the idea and it was something to aim for in the long dark months. We’ve tried to train as much as we can but nothing can prepare you for 16 hours of tennis. When the pain starts to kick in and there are hours still to go, we’ll know in the back of our minds that we’re doing the right thing.”

Peter Wilson, 44, said: “I watched our kids struggling with loneliness during the winter, as they were quite literally locked down in the countryside unable to see any of their friends for months on end. We thought others must be suffering too so we had to do something to raise awareness for children’s mental health issues. Diana at the Ted Senior Foundation really understands the need for kids to talk freely and easily to younger peers and teachers about these issues without them becoming taboo subjects. That’s why we chose them. And now we’re motivated to raise as much as we can to support new projects in Monmouth.”