Ace 1: one winning strategy for one amazing cause
What a wonderful and inspirational fundraising and PR campaign from tennis ace Ross Hutchins. He bought together the LTA, the Aegon Championships and The Queens Club, to stage Rally Against Cancer for The Royal Marsden – a doubles exhibition match followed by a pro-am display on finals day.
SCORE – 15:love
Ace 2: main PR spokespeople on message
Ross himself did a sterling job of raising the profile of this PR campaign; being shipped out as the main spokesperson to the media over the preceding months. All this whilst undergoing some intensive and probably very debilitating treatment at The Royal Marsden for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer.
And if ever a PR spokesman was 150% on message, Andy Murray’s emotional winning speech to the crowd, broadcast live by the BCC, was a joy to listen to. Asked by Sue Barker who he was blowing kisses to on the balcony as his girlfriend sat on the side lines, Murray explained it was to his great friend Ross Hutchins, perhaps a private confirmation nod to promise a winning gift.
SCORE – 30:love
Ace 3: Star-studded entertainment
The pro-am players entertained the tennis crowd in a way never seen before on Queen’s Club’s Centre Court.
The revolving comedy players included Jimmy Carr, Jonathan Ross and Michael McIntyre. Boris Johnson, Eddie Redmayne and Sir Richard Branson were also such good sports to take part.
The creative scoring (bribery of first-class upgrades to the umpire), questionable line calls from players and linesmen, inventive cautions of ‘Abuse of a Knight’, as Jimmy Carr demonstrated cruel gamesmanship shouting at Sir Richard Branson to hurry up and serve his second serve. On a few occasions, in-between some air shots, they all managed to hit some blinding, if unconventional, winners.
For the final rally Ross Hutchins even got on court himself in his suit and brogues and roped in the BBC commentator Andrew Castle in his suit and tie (for the comedy element, go to 1m 44 secs).
SCORE – 40:love
Ace 4: A huge team effort, and almost doubled by the champion
The imaginative and enthusiastic team from The Royal Marsden and the LTA made this happen, supported by a small army of volunteers, working all week long collecting donations, selling raffle tickets and raising the profile of the charity and the exhibition match.
Most importantly was the crowd, giving so generously every day – there were online donations, text donations and raffle ticket purchases a plenty. It all helped boost The Royal Marsden coffers to ensure they reached their target of £100,000.
But then before the end of the day it was announced that that not only had The Royal Marsden beaten it’s fundraising targets, but that Andy Murray has eclipsed everyone’s efforts by donating his winning prize money of £75,000 to the cause.
SCORE – Game, set and match to The Royal Marsden, and thanks to the wonderful crowd, and one amazing man who conceived the idea, Ross Hutchins.