Steve’s Story: Why a visually impaired tennis player is running the Great North Run for charity

Steve’s Story: Why a visually impaired tennis player is running the Great North Run for charity

When Steve Trewick first played tennis in 2013, it was a difficult activity to get used to.

Registered blind since birth, he had never picked up a racket until Wendy Glasper, founder of the North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club, attended a sight loss workshop to present the club’s opportunities.

Immediately interested, Steve went along to his first session and before he knew it, tennis had become a huge part of his life.

“It was really difficult at first, I think everyone who comes to visually impaired sessions struggles with it quite a lot,” he explained.

“From there it went quite quickly – I became treasurer of the club, I’ve completed the first two levels of my LTA coaching course and I play in national competitions, so it’s been quite a significant lifestyle change.

“I’m also a disability tennis activator for the North East, helping with delivery of sessions across a broad range of disability groups, as well as outreach days. One of those was with Age UK, so you can see we work with a wide range of people.”

It was also in 2013 that Steve began running, but he insists it’s only ever been for basic fitness, completing the odd parkrun here and there for some cardiovascular exercise.

But he isn’t one to back down to a challenge, so when it was announced there would be a team of runners representing British Tennis entered into this year’s Great North Run — a half marathon run between Newcastle upon Tyne and South Shields — Steve faced it head on and put his name down.

He and the other members of the team are doing so in order to raise funds for activities supported by the Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, who have played a huge role in Steve’s tennis participation right from the beginning. Doing the run is another way for Steve to give back to a sport that has transformed his life.

“I’ve benefitted hugely from my involvement with tennis, not only as a competitive sport but as a social activity as well,” Steve said.

“I’m really keen to share that with people. Each year, hundreds of people with disabilities benefit from the work of the Tennis Foundation. As a coach and a local activator, I’m proud to play my own small part in this work.

“It can be profoundly liberating for a person with a disability to be competing on a level playing field. It improves physical and mental health and there are social benefits of being immersed in a culture of like-minded people.”

“I’ve been looking for an excuse to get myself in shape and I really fancied the challenge. The opportunity to do it for such a great cause made it an easy decision.”

Working closely with the Tennis Foundation as well as benefitting from their involvement with the sport, Steve says it’s a charity he would’ve picked even had he not been involved with the British Tennis team, as well as appealing for people to donate to the cause. The charity has a mission to open up the sport and its benefits to anyone and everyone, focusing its work around disabiled people, young people in education, and young people in urban and disadvantaged communities.

“It will go to a great cause no matter what section of the Tennis Foundation benefits from it. They are involved in a lot of genuinely good stuff, all of which I support.

“It’s about increasing access to the game and taking barriers out of the way for those who face them, and the money we raise will make sure that continues to happen.”

To support Steve’s run and help him reach his target of raising £500 for the Tennis Foundation, please visit his JustGiving page.

Steve will be supported along the route by the Tennis Foundation’s Regional Disabiliy Development Manager for the North and Midlands, Matt Elkington who will act as his guide runner. Both Steve and Matt are part of a team of five runners that will be representing British Tennis on the streets of the North East.

To read more about the team, click here.