By Rose Lock
The sound of bouncing ping pong balls could be heard more than usual at Brighton Table Tennis Club last weekend, when it held a 24 hour Ping-Pong-A-Thon fundraising event.
Half the money raised will be donated to the Lily Foundation, the UK’s leading charity dedicated to fighting mitochondrial disease.
The other half will be put towards funding a new minibus for the club – used every week to collect players from around the city.
The event was organised by member Lisa Pritchett, who was inspired to raise awareness for the Lily Foundation after attending a charity dinner.
She said: “There’s been an overwhelming response, it’s been amazing. So far we have raised £1,500 for each charity – and we are still going!”
Ms Pritchett played for the full 24 hours, and said having her teammates turn up at all hours kept her going.
“People have been coming throughout the whole period. It’s been great to see the new faces as they come in.”
At some points there were as many as 30 players at the club, and on Sunday morning Mayor Dee Simpson paid them a visit.
Sport bringing people together
A registered charity running for 12 years, BTTC has a number of outreach programmes and uses a minibus to drive members and table tennis tables to other sites 35 times a week, including sessions with prisoners.
Speaking before the event, club founder and director Tim Holtam said they use the minibus every day to bring players to the club who otherwise would not be able to attend.
He said: “Monday to Friday we collect from schools and pupil referral units, and we pick up some of our older members and disabled members.
“Then it goes all around the country at weekends for tournaments.”
Mr Holtam described the club as a model of what sport can do to bring people together.
He said: “We have a diverse membership, with people playing in the same teams. They get time to know other people that they’d otherwise never get to meet.
“It’s about community integration, but I think what also brings people back is the competition. Everyone who comes here wants to get better.”
Donations can still be made online at: virginmoneygiving.com/fund/