A TENNIS champ proved a hit when he went back to his old school.
Sunderland’s Jonny Binding, 21, returned to Richard Avenue Primary School with other members of the Durham University tennis team, to give a coaching session to the youngsters.
The visit was ahead of Jonny and his colleagues taking part in the 2014 National Premier League Tennis finals, which for the third consecutive year will be hosted by Sunderland next week.
The four-day event at Sunderland Tennis Centre in Silksworth, will involve 16 teams from all over the country competing to be crowned champions.
Durham University’s team is one of just four from the North East which have made it through to the finals. Another is Virgin Active Wearside.
Jonny, who hails from High Barnes, said: “It was quite strange coming back to the school, but it brought back so many good memories. A lot has changed since I left.”
The sports science student said: “Being part of the Durham University team is great. We are really looking forward to the competition.”
Karen Todd, headteacher at Richard Avenue Primary, said: “We were delighted to welcome Johnny back to our school, to share his passion and experience of tennis and sport with our children.
“Getting involved in sport at any level is so important for young people’s personal development. It helps build up determination, perseverance, teamwork and lots of other transferable skills which will help later in life beyond sport.”
After a talk by the players in assembly, members of the school’s tennis team took part in a coaching session, picking up some top tips from the university students.
The NPL final is being sponsored by Sunderland City Council with community and business partners Sunderland College, University of Sunderland, Advanced Vehicle Leasing, Dunlop Sport and the hpm group.
Cabinet secretary for Sunderland City Council, Councillor Mel Speding, said: “Following last year’s sell-out crowds, we are looking forward to welcoming fans from around the country to the Sunderland Tennis Centre which will provide the perfect venue.”
Captain of the Virgin Active Wearside team, Adam Barraclough, said: “We are really looking forward to competing in the NPL finals once again in our home city and hoping to shock some of the stronger teams and have a good run in the competition.”
Details of matches and tickets are available from the tennis centre on 561 5900 or by emailing the organiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.