Former ball boy revisits his Wimbledon memories
PLAY TIME: Barry Hyland back at Wimbledon where he was a ball boy 58 years ago.
Barry Hyland, 71, was one of the ball boys selected by Barnardo’s, a leading children’s charity, to play a leading role in the famous tennis championship.
For 20 years from 1946, all Wimbledon ball boys came from one of Barnardo’s residential schools in Hertfordshire.
Mr Hyland was in Barnardo’s care from the age of five, and he learnt carpentry and joinery at Barnardo’s Goldings residential school in Hertfordshire.
He was selected to be a ball boy at Wimbledon from 1958 to 1962.
Barnardo’s is celebrating 70 years since beginning its special partnership with the All England Lawn Tennis Club and Wimbledon.
The charity invited some of the former ball boys, including Mr Hyland, to revisit Wimbledon to share memories and swap anecdotes about Wimbledon champions, the roaring crowds and the strawberries and cream.
Mr Hyland said: “We had to be fit and agile, able to catch and throw balls, and also have the ability to stand perfectly still on court during play to avoid distracting the competitors.
“Enthusiasm and self-discipline counted for a lot, and was an important aspect of the approach to life taught to us at Barnardo’s Goldings school.
“The main advice given to us as ball boys was to be polite to players, stay alert and do our best and this proved enough.”
While training, Mr Hyland was selected by his teachers to make a fruit ball as part of Barnardo’s patron Princess Margaret’s wedding present and then later asked to make a play pen for Princess Margaret’s first child.
After leaving Goldings, Mr Golding did an apprenticeship in carpentry and shortly after he became self-employed. He is married and has two children and four grandchildren.
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “We are proud to be celebrating 70 years since Barnardo’s boys had the privilege of being ball boys at the championships.
“Being ball boys was an opportunity for some Barnardo’s students to be part of something truly special and inspirational. As we mark our 150th anniversary, it’s wonderful to recognise the positive impact both Wimbledon and the support from our charity has had on their lives.
“From Barnardo’s beginnings to the present day, we continue to provide care, support and training to hundreds of thousands of children, young people and families every year.”
Only a third of the Barnardo’s students aged 14 to 18 became ball boys, so competition to be selected was fierce. Today, ball boys and ball girls are chosen from local south London schools.