Online auction launched in memory of tennis player Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha, former British number one tennis player

Elena Baltacha, who died from cancer in 2014 - Credit: Love all auction

An online charity auction — created in memory of former British number one tennis player Elena Baltacha — will take place in November, it has been announced. 

The Love all auction, which will launch on November 4, will feature memorabilia, artworks and unique experiences from the world of sport and entertainment. 

Elena, who lived in Ipswich and had strong ties to East Anglia through her dad Sergei, who played for Ipswich Town from 1988 to 1990, was aged just 30 when she died from cancer in 2014. 

The auction will raise money for grassroots and community tennis programmes in Suffolk and Scotland, alongside international screening and research into women's cancers. 

Money raised will also go towards palliative care for young adults with cancer and life-limiting illnesses through Zest, which is part of the St Elizabeth Hospice family. 

Judy Murray, mother of former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray

Judy Murray, with the Love All auction wristband - Credit: Love All

The auction is the brainchild of Nino Severino, Elena's husband and coach who founded a foundation in memory of his late wife to continue her legacy of introducing tennis to disadvantaged children in Ipswich, and Gina Long, who established children's charity GeeWizz. 

Mr Severino said: “It is so heartening to see the tennis and the East Anglian community uniting in the spirit of love all in memory of Elena, and all those around the world whose lives have been shattered by this terrible disease.

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“The auction will enable us to deliver a two-year tennis programme starting in primary schools across Ipswich and ultimately across Suffolk.

"We have also nominated Zest to receive proceeds to provide palliative care for young adults with cancer and life limiting illnesses across East Anglia.”

Nino Severino and his late wife Elena. Picture: ELENA BALTACHA FOUNDATION

Nino Severino and his late wife Elena. Picture: ELENA BALTACHA FOUNDATION - Credit: Archant

As well as the Elena Baltacha Foundation and Zest, proceeds from the auction will support the Murray Play Foundation, established by Judy Murray, to operate tennis outreach programmes in disadvantaged communities around Dunblane, Scotland.

It will also support WTA Charities Aceing Cancer Campaign, vital research by Sarcoma UK, and the GeeWizz children’s charity to fund community tennis disability programmes for children with special educational needs through LTA Suffolk. 

Mrs Long said: “The widespread support and generosity from Suffolk companies and individuals has been truly overwhelming.”

“Without their support from the outset, the auction would not have been possible. I would like to acknowledge, our many East Anglian auction lot donors, to be announced in November, but especially auctioneers Lacy, Scott and Knight and Coastline of Bury St Edmunds, Healey’s Print in Ipswich and Enable Services in Martlesham.”

Dylan and Crystal Low

Dylan and Crystal Low show off their wristbands - Credit: Love All auction

To mark the auction launch, sustainably manufactured wristbands have been released to raise awareness about the cause.

The #loveallauction wristbands are available from Thursday at www.loveallauction.com 

Supporters are being urged to share the love by taking a selfie with their wristband and posting @loveallauction with the hashtag #loveallauction.

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