Exmouth youngster Tommy and his mum serve an ace to help children

PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 October 2015

Pictured:
Centre back: Helena, Debbie and Tommy surrounded by some Gambian project volunteers.

Pictured: Centre back: Helena, Debbie and Tommy surrounded by some Gambian project volunteers.

Archant

Exmouth Community College student and tennis ace Tommy Poli has donated old rackets and balls to African youngsters.

The year seven student teamed up with his mum, Helena Meineck, handing over clothes, books and shoes, backing a project supporting schoolchildren in Gambia.

Mum and son set off for Plymouth with a car load of donations, in support of Helena’s old university friend, Debbie Read, who runs an African pre-school project.

Helena, manager of All Saints Pre-school, in Church Road, Exmouth, said: ‘I was truly overwhelmed by the amazing response from the families who have children at our pre-school.

“Debbie was supposed to be visiting the pre-school last term to collect all the 10 bags and spend some time with the children, talking about how children in the Gambia live.

“But, sadly, she was attacked on her last trip there and was unable to come, so we thought we would take everything to her.

“When I told my son where we were going and why, he decided to donate all his old tennis rackets and a huge bin of tennis balls, too, for the children at the Madiana Village where Debbie has her pre-school.”

Tommy, who is currently ranked 78th in the UK for under-12s’ tennis, said: “The children out in the Gambia don’t have what we have here and I think that is really sad.

“That’s why I decided to give them all my old rackets and balls. I hope they enjoy learning to play tennis as much as I do.”

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