The new Malmesbury Table Tennis Club launched with a bang (or should it be a Ping!) on January 13 with an exhibition match from two champion veterans.

The launch at the Activity Zone in the town in Wiltshire was very well supported by the local community, including the Mayor of Malmesbury Cllr Gavin Grant, and community members of all ages among the 100 or so people present. 

Many representatives of the wider table tennis community in the south west also offered their support and encouragement, recognising the importance of the new club.

The creation of the club is the culmination of many years of work by a local team of volunteers led by Marie-Claire Davies – Founder of Malmesbury TTC. Marie-Claire spent the afternoon smiling and looking very proud of what she had achieved.

The exhibition match and demonstration by Michele Reeves and Emma Harradine (England Vets players and respected coaches), engaged and inspired everyone in attendance. A few brave bystanders took up the challenge to play them, which proved very entertaining.

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After the club was formerly opened by the Mayor, Amanda Leonard, Table Tennis England’s Area Manager (South West) spoke and told the gathering: “It’s clubs like this which provide the backbone of the sport.

“The volunteers and players that gather here are the heart and soul of table tennis in England. The launch marks the start of something very special.

“Who knows, the next person to walk through the door and pick up a bat could be on the podium of the 2036 Olympics. Or, equally important, they may love table tennis so much they go on to enjoy a lifetime of playing and enjoying the game.”

Commenting on the event, Cllr Grant said: “I was delighted to formally launch the Malmesbury Table Tennis Club. I pay great tribute to Marie-Claire and her club colleagues for their determination.

“Table tennis is a family sport accessible to people of all ages. It was great to see so many children, parents and grandparents at the launch. I wish the club every success.”