Nino Severino: Judy Murray's coming to Ipswich for a special charity event - and you can be there too!
PUBLISHED: 12:57 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:58 07 August 2019
In his latest column, Nino Severino brings you news of a major event coming to Ipswich in October, featuring Judy Murray and other top sporting names - and explains how you can be part of it.
As chairman of The Elena Baltacha Foundation I am involved in many areas of programme delivery for young people, this means lots of fund raising to ensure my team and I can continue to keep providing high quality opportunities for pupils in sport.
Last year I delivered a presentation at Ipswich Town Business Breakfast Club, and I was approached by two very special ladies who were about to change my life - their names are Jennifer Leeder from Birketts Solicitors and Sue Tasker from the Milsoms Hotel Group.
Part of my presentation included the story of how my late wife Elena and I met, our life on the world tennis tour and our love that eventually led us to marry in 2013, they both said they were incredibly touched by our story.
All three of us stayed after everyone had left, just simply chatting about all things sport, business and life in general, little did I know that this was the beginning of a friendship that would lead to some very exciting opportunities.
At the end of our chat we all decided to arrange a coffee meeting at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, to continue our discussions and explore how we could all work together.
We discussed many options. Sue is heavily involved in events at all the Milsoms Hotels, she suggested we considered a Gala Dinner as part of a fund-raising schedule.
This very casual coffee led to a very big and official meeting at the corporate head office of Birketts Solicitors in Ipswich, and what a first meeting it would prove to be!
The experience was one of complete positivity. I was surrounded by a boardroom of professional women, I looked around the table as they were all interacting, and I thought to myself 'this is incredible' - I have never experienced anything like it, no egos, just huge talent, and a focus on making something special happen in Ipswich.
One of the group asked me if I knew of a female in sport that could attend as a special guest of honour, I responded immediately, and said Judy Murray.
I informed the ladies that I would reach out to Judy, to see if she would consider a collaboration between The Judy Murray and Elena Baltacha Foundation's, However, with the specific date we had in mind, the chances of Judy being able to commit to this opportunity were extremely slim indeed.
But then, back in March, I received a text from Judy, it simply said "10th Oct ok, count me in, perfect to link our foundations, Bally would love that." This was the point when everything changed. I sent out messages to all the team, the response was instant and dynamic, we were all super excited, we were now managing an event that would see one of the most famous women in sport visiting Ipswich to head up a major event!
The original group of ladies who were around that boardroom table during the first meeting have been incredible.
Jennifer and Sue were joined by Sharyn Scott, Marketing Campaigns Manager for Birketts, and other outstanding members of the business community such as Fiona Coe, and we are now moving towards the October 10 at Milsoms with great expectations of delivering a unique fund-raising event.
The event is officially supported by many entities, including our World Governing Body, the WTA, they will ensure that our evening will feature some of the biggest names in global tennis.
The friends we have around the foundation have served us well, they have all reached out across their network and we have some incredible sporting celebrities from around the country who will travel in especially for the event, the list includes some very high-profile names.
I must thank people including Gina Long, MBE, who heads up the incredible charity GeeWizz, and has been tireless in her support for our event, while my very good friends Rob Houston from Barclays Premier Account Division and Jason Turner, Director of Barclays Private Bank, have ensured we will have a team of helpers from the bank's staff.
The evening will be a complete sell-out, but, as a member of the columinist team for the EADT/Star, I would love to see some of my readers at the event. With that in mind I am holding two tables of 12 that will each be hosted by a sporting star, so if you would like to attend what will be a memorable night, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to seeing you at what should be an incredible sporting night for our great town!