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Fundraise on the First: Recorder staff join community for table tennis fun

PUBLISHED: 15:04 02 June 2015 | UPDATED: 15:04 02 June 2015

Reporter Beth Wyatt, executive editor Chris Carter and news editor Emma Lake representing the Recorder at First Step's table tennis tournament at Coopers' School

Reporter Beth Wyatt, executive editor Chris Carter and news editor Emma Lake representing the Recorder at First Step's table tennis tournament at Coopers' School

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Twelve teams stepped forward, putting their pride on the line in a bid to be crowned sporting champions.

Havering Table Tennis club's first youth team, James Reed, 15, Jamie Gilliam, 16, and Thomas Perman, 15, who won the tournament, with First Step's chief executive Mark Halls Havering Table Tennis club's first youth team, James Reed, 15, Jamie Gilliam, 16, and Thomas Perman, 15, who won the tournament, with First Step's chief executive Mark Halls

This was First Step’s inaugural table tennis tournament, where goodwill was joined by just a dash of competitiveness.

The Recorder took part in the fun on Tuesday evening at Coopers’ Company and Coborn School, in St Mary’s Lane Upminster, which followed a table tennis family fun day.

The event, for the Recorder’s Fundraise on the First campaign with First Step, was organised by the charity and the Romford and District Table Tennis League.

Among the teams taking part were those from estate agent Beresfords, West & Coe Funeral Directors and the league’s own players.

Reporter Beth Wyatt, executive editor Chris Carter and news editor Emma Lake representing the Recorder at First Step's table tennis tournament at Coopers' School Reporter Beth Wyatt, executive editor Chris Carter and news editor Emma Lake representing the Recorder at First Step's table tennis tournament at Coopers' School

I was joined in the Recorder Whiff-Whaffers by news editor Emma Lake and executive editor Chris Carter, all of us having not picked up a table tennis bat for some time.

Arriving ahead of the tournament’s kick-off, we were able to enjoy some precious moments of practice before things got serious, but our efforts seemed to consist mostly of hitting the ball off the table.

If points were awarded for tricks, Emma would have surely been up there, perfecting a move which saw her bounce the ball off the wall and back on to the table.

After playing in a two-against-one formation, myself and Emma took each other on in a practice go.

Quite evenly matched, we played for a few minutes and even managed to achieve some rallies.

We then joined all the other participants for the contest kick-off.

The teams were placed in different groups, with each player having to play a game against an opponent in another team.

Our first matches saw us pitted against First Step’s group.

Chris was the only one of us to emerge victorious, but Emma did have a nail-biter of a match with the charity’s fundraising manager Michelle Mitchell, with the latter managing to scrape a 12-10 win.

Our final chance to get into the quarter finals was by beating the estate agents from Beresfords.

Sadly, this round was the end of the road for us, with no wins, though Chris’ opponent was an Essex table tennis champion, so he at least didn’t feel too bad about it.

First Step’s team reached the respectable heights of the quarter finals, but it was members of Havering Table Tennis Club’s youth team who clinched the all-important trophy.

An individual award was given to Jamie Gilliam, 16, from the club.

Speaking after the tournament, Michelle said: “The table tennis events were great.

“Coopers’ Company and Coborn School generously allowed the activities to take place in their main hall and the wonderful team from the Romford and District Table Tennis League provided expert coaching, equipment and guidance throughout the day.

“Our thanks go to everyone who made these activities possible and the 12 teams, who played so well but were pipped by deserved winners from the Havering Table Tennis Club youth team.

“These fundraising activities were a celebration of teamwork – Colin Sherrin and the Romford and District Table Tennis league, the team from Coopers’ School and First Step. I hope this will be the first of many successful events we host together in the future.”

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