PUPILS from across the area got the chance to play Real Tennis with royalty while funds were raised for The Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) charity.
The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, visited Seacourt Tennis Club on Hayling Island as part of his Tennis Challenge 2018.
In his role as trustee and chair man of the DofE, Prince Edward has pledged to play every Real Tennis court in the world, which includes Seacourt, to promote the work the DofE Award does in transforming young lives.
The youth charity gives 14-24-year-olds the chance to develop skills for life and work.
Prince Edward is passionate about Real Tennis – the original racquet sport from which the modern game of lawn tennis is descended.
As it was his chosen physical section for his own DofE, he found it fitted as the focus of his 2018 campaign, which will see funds donated to the DofE charity.
Simon Flynn, board member at Seacourt Tennis Club, said: ‘We welcomed half-a-dozen pupils each from Hayling College, Purbrook Park School, Mayville High School, Portsmouth Grammar School, Crookhorn College and Oaklands Catholic School.
‘They were invited to play multiple racket sports and received a Real Tennis masterclass.
‘Prince Edward joined two pupils from each school on court – the day has been fantastic and we were honoured to have him at the club, and to be part of his campaign.’
Through a combination of DofE engagements, Real Tennis events and fundraising activities, Prince Edward will enable a new generation of young people to start their DofE journey. He is set to visit all of the UK’s 25 Real Tennis courts before the year ends.
Club members joined Prince Edward on the Real Tennis court to share in three sets of doubles, before a fundraising dinner.
Crookhorn College teacher Crystalie Miller took six pupils to the event and said: ‘Our pupils have really enjoyed the day and they got to say hello to Prince Edward, and talk to him about their DofE experiences.
‘It’s been such a worthwhile experience for them to learn about Real Tennis, and play other pupils.’