Spreading the word as 300 try table tennis at taster session at Sheffield’s Birley College

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Denise Fox with officials, guests and players at the Birley College taster session. Photo: Andrew Roe
The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Denise Fox with officials, guests and players at the Birley College taster session. Photo: Andrew Roe

Three hundred school children were introduced to table tennis in an initiative to grow the game.

The Lord Mayor Coun Denise Fox, the head teacher of Birley College Steven Robinson and Rachel Charles, Sheffield United’s Premier League Programme Coordinator, witnessed an entertaining five-hour taster session at the College.

A three-way table tennis partnership is being forged, uniting the Birley Community College with the Sheffield United Community Foundation and the Vulcan Redtooth table tennis club.

Funding and support is being provided via the Sheffield United Premier League for Sport” (PL4S) initiative, the Vulcan club and Table Tennis England.

The children were treated to thrilling demonstrations of the modern game as former five-times women’s national singles champion Andrea Holt took on the six times Sheffield men’s title holder David Rayner in a wonderful exhibition of skill, power and movement, which even involved playing with a frying pan!

Under the guidance of Vulcan head coach Alan Lowe and Steve Parkinson many of the pupils had fun returning multiple balls being fed to them by a robot!

Twenty-four hours later the new after-school club – initiated by Keith Cronin - PE curriculum leader at the College, attracted 36 pupils under the supervision of Vulcan coaches, led by Alan Lowe and supported by Dominic Ayton (Sheffield United Community Foundation).

This will provide a platform for the children to practice weekly and improve their skills as potential league players.

The club will be open from 3pm on Fridays at the college and will be supervised by Vulcan’s licensed table tennis coaches.