Q: What eats 28,000kg of strawberries and drinks 330,000 cups of tea? A: The crowds at Wimbledon and at Edenmore Nursing Home, Ilfracombe

Watched by 300 million viewers in 200 countries, and with 500,000 spectators in attendance over the 2-week period, Wimbledon is the largest annual sporting event in Europe, with the cheapest seats for the finals currently costing around £4000, if you can get them!

It is much loved by audiences in the UK’s 11,300 Care Homes, too, with packed seats watching the matches in the build up to the Women’s final on 14th July and the men’s final on 15th.

At Edenmore Care Home, near Ilfracombe, the residents, are referred to as Family Members, and have matches viewable in numerous lounges and may be served traditional strawberries and cream and perhaps even a glass of something stronger than tea, to celebrate the finalists’ successes. The home has a speciality in caring for those living with dementia, and watching sport is thought to have a beneficial effect on that condition.

But what is it about this fascinating game that attracts so many viewers?

Perhaps it’s our pride in our own tennis stars, or the fact that it is the most famous tennis tournament in the world. Or is it the out-and out “Britishness” of it all with the strict, all-white uniforms, Henman Hill, and of course, the Royal Box?

When asked why they liked watching tennis, family members often cited the classic 1980 final between Borg and MacEnroe as the ultimate Wimbledon Final. MacEnroe saved 7 match points before finally losing to Borg in the 5th set.

This year, the only break in excitement levels at the Home­­­­­­­ is going to be when the call, “New balls please” is heard

Roll on Wimbledon. Now where’s my scone gone?

Jerry Short

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