It will be an emotional return to the Biggin Hill Squash Club on Saturday (June 8) for Commonwealth Games gold medallist and four-time British Ladies national squash champion, Sue Wright.
For it was at the club that the young Sue, coached by her father Ken, honed and refined the skills that saw her rise to the top of her sport and land a host of domestic and international titles.
Now she will return to the club for the first time since the death of her father three years ago with a special ‘women and girls only’ squash roadshow designed to showcase and promote the sport that she graced for two decades.
The event will take place on Saturday June 8 and will run from 1-4pm.
“It will be a strange and emotional time for me to come back here for the first time since my dad passed away,” said Sue. “ I don’t really know how I will feel but what I do know is that once we decided to run the roadshows, there was only one place where I was ever going to start things off – and that was Biggin Hill Squash Club.”
Open to girls from five years of age through to senior ladies – the roadshows are available to all regardless of current standard, including those who have yet to even pick up a squash racket.
Wright will host and coach at the club, supported by an all-female team of coaches and instructors.
Explaining the thinking behind the innovative female-only move to take squash to the people, Wright, a London 2012 Olympic legacy ambassador, commented: “ Squash was good to me and I have stayed in the game since retiring, working in a promotional, ambassadorial and coaching capacity as well as commentating on Sky. However, I get the distinct feeling that there are fewer females playing the game at present compared to when I was on the international circuit.
“We really do need to do something to stimulate and promote the sport to women and girls of all ages. I am hoping that the roadshows will start that process. I want people – irrespective of age and standard to come along – and then hopefully come back for more.
“We need to strengthen and intensify the focus on female participation of all ages in all sport, not just squash. After the unparalleled success of the 2012 London Olympics we are now duty bound to deliver that legacy. And that’s not just to future generations but to anyone interested in playing sport at any level.”
The series is supported by England Squash and Racketball who commented: “England Squash and Racketball is delighted to be working with Sue Wright on her Women and Girls roadshows which aim to get more women and girls involved in squash and racketball.
“There is something for everyone from squashercise classes to mini-squash. Whether you have never played before or would like to get more involved, make sure you take up the opportunity to attend your local event – it will be fantastic fun!”
Each roadshow, supported by sponsorship from Head, will last three hours and will feature squash, racketball and squashercise. Venues hosting the roadshows are as follows:
- Biggin Hill Squash Club, Kent. June 8. 1-4pm
- Hunts County Squash Club, Hemingford Grey, Cambs. June 9. 10am-1pm
- Spring Health, Chelmsford, Essex. 15 June. 1-4pm
- St George’s Lawn Tennis & Squash Club, Weybridge, Surrey. 16 June. 1-4pm
- Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham, Warwickshire. 22 June. 1-4pm
- Abingdon Squash Club, Oxfordshire. 23 June. Noon-3pm & 4-6pm
Wright was keen to stress that the six roadshows are not aimed at unearthing a future ladies squash champion. “That is not the intention,” she explained. “The grassroots of any sport are fundamental to its ongoing development and increasing the number of female players is central to the future progress of squash.
“However, part of the initiative is also to set about providing better and more accessible pathways to anyone who wants to take their squash further. The sport needs to address both areas in order to flourish in both the short and long-term future.
“We need the sport to be in the healthiest possible situation on the run-up to the decision as to whether or not squash will feature in the 2020 Olympics. It is impossible to put a price on what that would mean for the sport if the decision goes in our favour.”
The roadshow series is also linked to the LVSOS Kit Aid charity which recycles sports kit before recycling it for disadvantaged children both in the UK and overseas. “ A special collection bin will be available at each venue to enable roadshow participants or general club members to help give underprivileged children a sporting chance,” Wright explained.
The cost of attending a three-hour roadshow is £5 per person which sees each participant get the opportunity to try all available activities plus a goody bag, free entry into a raffle and a free ticket to the final roadshow of the series at Abingdon on 23 June (see Special Note below).
All bookings should be made through the Sue Wright website at www.suewrightsquash.com
Wright has secured valuable support from Tesco for her roadshows. Wright will be visiting six Tesco stores to highlight the opportunity to get involved with her women and girls roadshows at their local facilities.
She said: “It’s going to be fantastic to get into the Tesco stores, meet the public face to face and hopefully build some excitement around what we are doing. We really do need to do something to stimulate and promote sport to women and girls of all ages. I am hoping that this promotional tour will kick start the process and the roadshows will become a huge success”.
The promotion and roadshow series is also linked to the LVSOS Kit Aid charity which recycles sports kit for disadvantaged children both in the UK and overseas.
“A special collection bin will be available at each promotional location and venue to enable the general public, roadshow participants and general club members to pop their old kit in and help give underprivileged children a sporting chance,” Wright explained.