A TENNIS-LOVING family will be serving at a major tournament.
Comprising an umpire mum, a steward son and a crew captain daughter, the McHugh family are set to volunteer at the inaugural Aegon Southsea Trophy, which gets underway today.
Staged just one week before Wimbledon, the ITF Pro Circuit women’s tournament – which features a prize haul of $100,000 – is takig place at Canoe Lake until Friday.
Annette McHugh, 62, an ex-Navy wren, will serve as an umpire at the four-day event.
A 27-time Wimbledon official herself, Mrs McHugh is set to be joined, coincidentally she says, by her two children – Eleanor, 15 and Patrick, 29.
Mrs McHugh explained: ‘After I was asked to officiate, Ellie returned from school with a letter asking her to be a ball girl and crew captain.
‘Then my son said ‘‘mum, I’ve been asked to help at Southsea!’.
‘I’m as proud as punch, as they say.’
Eleanor, a pupil at Portsmouth High School for Girls, was trained for her role.
She said: ‘I feel very privileged. It’s been fun and they have worked us hard.
‘My mum has worked 27 Wimbledons and my brother has worked three, but I can now say I’ve done something they never have – be a ball girl for my local tournament.’
Annette’s son Patrick – a Royal Marine based at RNAS Yeovilton, who will be present as a steward on Friday – said taking part would bring back fond family memories.
‘It’s all about the connection with my mum.
‘She’s been an umpire her whole life and I’ve been privileged enough to go to several Wimbledons with her.
‘In that respect, the whole tournament environment is so nostalgic for me.’