Pickleball organisers Julia and Mark Jones with father and daughter players Paul and Grace Prior.

An Oswestry couple are spreading the word about the sport of Pickleball with the county’s first charity Pickleball Tournival.

Julia and Mark Jones, enthusiastic converts to the sport, are holding the fundraising event – a combination of a tournament and festival – at Oswestry Leisure Centre on 13th July. All money raised will help children with life-threatening conditions and families who need the support of Hope House children’s hospice.

Julia and Mark discovered Pickleball in February this year while visiting their daughter in the Cayman Islands. The pair were immediately hooked and wanted to play this new-found sport near home. Since there wasn’t a club nearby, the resourceful duo decided to hire out the badminton courts at Oswestry Leisure Centre and went on to grow Oswestry Pickleball.

“We started Oswestry Pickleball in April and have already got 129 members signed up. It’s phenomenal how the sport is growing,” says Mark.

“It’s a sport that’s easy to pick up and doesn’t cost the earth. You can buy your own paddle for as little as £10 and our sessions cost just £5,” says Julia.

Pickleball, invented in America, is described as a cross between lawn tennis and table tennis. In the UK, it is mainly played on a badminton court. It’s popular with all ages and is easier to pick up than tennis. Mark, a badminton player, was captivated by the sport immediately. “I challenge anyone not to love it. Nobody plays Pickleball just once!” he says.

With Shropshire County Council supporting the event by paying for the courts, the pair are looking forward to the Tournival, which has already seen many signing up from across the county. They are raising money for Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith children’s hospices and are keen to recruit volunteers to help on the day.

“Mark and I had an awesome meeting today at Hope House children’s hospice as we get ready for our charity Tournival on 13th July. It was our first time visiting, and we were blown away by the amazing work they do and the positive vibe of the place. We're super happy we chose this charity and can't wait to help out with our event,” says Julia.

For more details about Oswestry Pickleball, or to volunteer to help out on the day, visit the Oswestry Pickleball Facebook page, email [email protected] or WhatsApp Mark on 07375075808

Donate to Mark and Julia's fundraising page