A print of World Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton

Sports memorabilia raffle for Tennis aid

A Ballina man has organised a sports memorabilia raffle to raise funds to team tennis to youngers in deprived parts of the world.

Tennis coach Wesley O’Brien has set up a foundation called ‘Hit and Hope Tennis’ from where he travels to refugee camps and runs tennis workshops for the kids around the world such as Greece, Syria, Turkey, and middle East.

Since starting this project, Wesley has received great support from international sports stars and have donated signed items to support the work from athletes such as Rafael Nadal, Usain Bolt, Rory McIlroy, Lewis Hamilton, the South African Rugby team are just some of the stars who have helped.

Most recently, Manchester United and Everton football clubs, the Republic & Northern Ireland Soccer teams have all sent signed items as well as all four home rugby provinces while boxing coach Billy Walsh donated a signed singlet from the USA Olympic team.

“It's been overwhelming the kindness,” Wesley said.

“The plan is to run a raffle. As well as raising money for my refugee tennis programs, I wanted to help people in Ireland too. I have approached another Tennis coach who is from Sligo that runs the Access Tennis Foundation that brings tennis to minorities here in Ireland.”

Among the items being raffled on this occasion are: a Rafa Nadal signed tennis shirt, a Usain Bolt signed singlet, a Rory McIlroy signed Golf Flag, a Franz Beckenbauer signed Bayern Munich shirt and a Lewis Hamilton signed world championship print.

The raffle is now live with the draw taking place on Sunday 5th December in Killaloe/Ballina Tennis Club and you can take part in the draw by going to: www.accesstennisfoundation.ie/donate-to-our-impact-fund or www.facebook.com/HitandHopeTennis/