Picture special: Andy Murray’s mum visits Ilfracombe
PUBLISHED: 16:51 18 July 2013 | UPDATED: 16:51 18 July 2013
Judy Murray has been at Ilfracombe Tennis Club running fun activity sessions with local children and parents as part of her Set4Sport programme.
THE mother of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is in Ilfracombe today (Thursday) as part of a road show to encourage more parents and children into sport.
Judy Murray has spent the day at Ilfracombe Tennis Club in Bicclescombe Park running Set4Sport training and coaching sessions with youngsters and their parents as well as local coaches and junior leaders.
Set4Sport is Judy’s own programme, inspired by the games she would play with sons Andy and Jamie when they were children in Dunblane some 20 years ago.
Children from Ilfracombe Infant School and their parents enjoyed learning ball skills and other exercises designed to help develop balance, co-ordination and agility from an early age, while encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle.
The games can be played at home by anyone, whether indoors or out. The initiative for three to eight-year-olds is sponsored by RBS and parents can order a free book or download an app to find out how to take up sporting play with their children.
Judy told the North Devon Gazette the tour of schools, clubs and centres was calling at few tennis clubs, but as Ilfracombe secretary Gary Tovey is a Set4Sport community ambassador, they were keen to come to North Devon and support him.
“For a tennis club in a park this is a perfect community venue, it’s gorgeous,” she said.
“It’s really nice to be able to come down here and support Gary - if we had a lot more like him across the country tennis would be in a much healthier position. He is so passionate about what he does and has great drive, with a real community club here.”
Her son may have just become the first Wimbledon men’s singles champion for 77 years, but Judy would have been out on the road promoting Set4Sport in any case, with the tour planned well in advance.
“This is quite normal for me, I really believe in this,” she said.
“It’s about getting children to develop what I would call ‘physical literacy’ at a young age, which I would say is just as important as being able to read and write.
“I wasn’t a tennis coach when my kids were young, but I was a PE teacher and knew enough to help them develop co-ordination from a young age.
“This definitely gave Andy the foundation for playing any sport well. When he and Jamie were young they tried every sport under the sun, ice skating, rugby, football, but at age eight or nine they settled on two each – Andy was tennis and football, Jamie was golf and tennis.”
Gary said the event was all about engaging with the community and getting parents involved in what their children were doing: “It’s nice to think that someone like Judy has time to come down here and help out, with her son having just won Wimbledon,” he said.
“It’s a little bit of recognition for the club and for Ilfracombe. She has given up a lot of time for tennis activities beyond the group sessions and I think it has meant a lot to the children and parents. She was very informal and I think it has been an eye-opener for people that she was so down to earth.”
Parents are invited to get ready for the school holidays by visiting www.Set4Sport.com to register for a free Set4Sport book or to download the free app.
* CLICK on the gallery links to the top right of this story to see more pictures from Judy’s visit.