I’m so pleased, for so many reasons, that Learn Play Grow has expanded into Scotland. Elena had a very special relationship with Scotland, and she lived there for many years. She was Scottish No.1 tennis player and also won the Scottish Female Player of the year award on numerous occasions.
Sharon McFadzean, pictured above, is now the proud owner of our Learn Play Grow Glasgow franchise, and she has a very special role as the first owner to fly the Learn Play Grow flag in Scotland, which means a lot to us because it ultimately plays a big part in Elena’s legacy.
Elena’s Scottish heritage
I flew up to Scotland twice to discuss the exciting possibilities that Glasgow presented tin terms of the Learn Play Grow expansion, the effect we can have on children’s lives, and ensuring my wife’s legacy of impacting children’s lives through sport, in a positive way, continues to go from strength to strength.
Elena, affectionately known as Bally, grew up in Scotland, learning tennis in the Glasgow area during her younger years. As a senior player, she agreed to represent Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in India. Elena was proud to fly the flag for Scotland. She was always so excited each time she was awarded Female Player of the Year.
Elena and Judy
After we launched The Elena Baltacha Foundation, Bally asked Judy Murray if she would do us the honour of becoming our patron. Judy and Bally were very close, not only as Great Britain Fed Cup player and Fed Cup Captain, but also on a personal level. We travelled up to Stirling with the foundation players on a number of occasions to work with Judy, who gave her time to Bally’s players during our visit.
Bally and I also had the honour of being part of the Great Britain Tennis Olympic Team, led by Senior coach, Judy Murray. The Olympic tennis tournament was held at the world-famous Wimbledon Club.
I remember this experience so vividly, and the role Judy played in terms of supporting Bally during our preparations.
Bally and I visited Scotland many times, and one of Bally’s proudest moments was receiving an Honorary Doctorate from The University of The West of Scotland. Bally was adamant that she was going to share this occasion with some of her foundation children, so she flew two of the girls up to Scotland with us.
Both girls went on to become Great British Internationals. partly thanks to the support that they received from Bally and the foundation.
I’m so happy to be able to continue this special relationship with Scotland, and I spent the weekend in Glasgow attending the ‘Rally for Bally’ fundraising event.
I spent a day with Sharon and her husband Richard having a fantastic time, not only celebrating Bally, but also chatting about the ways we can work together to make Learn Play Grow Glasgow a great success. It was fantastic to see Judy still honouring Bally and everything she represented by attending the event, spending all day entertaining the crowds.