IN APRIL, the Bromsgrove Standard teamed up with the Aegon Classic – the prestigious all-female tennis tournament held in Birmingham – in a search for local inspirational women.
There were many entries, but one woman really stood out as a real pillar of the community. Nicole Harris, who is chair of the Bromsgrove branch for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, has been fund-raising for 26 years since she lost her nine year old son, Marc, to Leukaemia. So far Nicole has helped to raise over £840,000 for the charity, which she hopes will soon be £1million.
In her position as chair, Nicole and the committee at Bromsgrove Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research have organised many fundraising events including discos, bikeathons, quizzes, and an annual fun run which has taken place every year since Marc died and this year raised nearly £14,000. On Sunday (June 8), more than 150 took part in the charity’s Forget Me Not Walk from Sanders Park.
As winner of the competition, Nicole has claimed an all-expenses paid, VIP trip to the Aegon Classic tennis final on Sunday (June 15) for herself and a friend.
Not only will Nicole see an exciting game of tennis, but she’ll also get to watch an exhibition doubles match between 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova, Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray. The exhibition match will be part of Rally for Bally, the series of activity which aims to raise money for the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis and the Royal Marsden Hospital in memory of former British number one Elena Baltacha who died of liver cancer last month.
On hearing the news that she has been named the Aegon Classic’s local heroine, Nicole said: “I had no idea I had been nominated so it was quite a shock when I was told I had won.
“We could not have raised so much money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research without the help of such a generous public in Bromsgrove and their support has meant a great deal to me. One day I hope all our efforts will mean that the cure in leukaemia is 100 per cent.
“I’m really looking forward to my VIP trip to finals day as I’m sure it will be a very exciting match, and I hope to take someone from the fundraising committee with me.”
The Aegon Classic is held at Birmingham’s Edgbaston Priory Club from Saturday (June 9) to Sunday (June 15). Recently upgraded to a WTA Premier Level event, the tournament is now one of the top 21 tennis events in the world – offering sporting fans in the Midlands the chance to see some top-rate tennis on their home turf.
Tickets start from as little as £15 per person and are available at www.aegonclassic.co.uk/tickets.
For more information, visit www.aegonclassic.co.uk, @BritishTennis, or call 0844 209 7359* (Calls cost 6p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).