Reopening Party – playwithrex90
We are pleased to invite all our members to our Grand Re-opening Party at the Club on a date TBC. The whole Committee is already working on how we can make this extra special and we will be making announcements as we go.
The first match of the day will be a challenge match between the Chairman and Rex (our oldest active playing member). The Chairman has selected a partner, but Rex still has to decide. Rex was 90 just after we went into lockdown and the challenge was issued by video (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the link – it’s a lot of fun and contains a few surprises).
The story behind the party invitation and more details of an appeal
Many of you know Rex, but for those who don’t, he is our oldest playing member. He plays at least three times a week with regular fours on a Tuesday and Thursday morning as well as still taking part in some of Teresa’s classes – at least one old dog wants to learn new tricks!
My first memory of Rex was in 2009 when James asked me to fill in as his partner one Thursday morning. I am often asked why I volunteer for the Club and one of the top reasons is the enjoyment I get out of playing with Rex and his friends in all weathers – I really aspire to be as good as Rex in every way when I am 90.
Over the years I have got to know more and more about Rex but really, he just likes to turn up and play. I was pretty sure he was an English teacher and it was typical of Rex that it was only when I visited Rob Ellis (Cambridge Tennis Academy) that I stumbled across the Rex Freeman Hall at Chesterton Community College. I also know he has staged lots of productions at every major venue in Cambridge and is very active in musical circles, I am sure he is the real Mr Chips.
Rex was 90 on Sunday 29 March and the last time I saw him was just before we closed the Club. It should have been a sad occasion as Rex told me he had spent the last two days cancelling all the celebrations planned for him reaching 90. I knew what he meant; I was at the Club cancelling the surprise party that our longstanding ladies four had been busily planning for months! The fact it was not sad is another tribute to Rex’s character – he just wanted to get his match going and was ever positive. He is now in lock down like the rest of us and I am sure he is missing his tennis.
Ever since I last saw him, I have been racking my brains as to what I could do to still be part of his celebrations. Typically, it came to me at 2.38 am the day before his birthday – I would send him a video card with a message from me. By 6.47 am my idea had expanded and I emailed one of our other friendly members for help. Tim is a film editor and had offered help on numerous times. By 8am, Tim and I were on the phone and we hatched a plan – I would challenge Rex to a doubles match at our Club Re-opening Party (already being planned by our team of volunteers). We would enlist other members to record a clip “Happy Birthday Rex, I should be your partner because …..”. Tim (being a professional) said, because of the time factor, we would only be able to manage a limited number of videos. While this made the task much easier, it meant that not everyone could participate, and I particularly regret not managing to get all his playing partners. We realised that not everyone could play in the four but would like to help so added an option: “Happy Birthday Rex, I would like to help by…..”.
I would like to thank Tim (the editor) for his hard work (the end result was so much better than I could have hoped for and my call with Rex afterwards will happily be in my memory for ever). While the instructions seemed easy, everyone had their own ideas as you will see. I would like to thank everyone who contributed (and their camera crews) – remember this was done by people in lock down! I would also like to thank Rex’s niece who played the crucial role of electronic postlady (yet another story!).
My appeal – this experience was a rare moment of joy in the past few days and we hope you enjoy it. With Rex house bound, my new mad idea is to send an update every week. If you would like to participate and are not a member, please send an email to email@example.com or even better send your own clip saying why you should be his partner/how you can help or tag your social media posts #playwithrex90.
I really would love to hear from all his friends so I get to truly know the man; please get filming and send clips, photos or just a few words!
Responses will be shared with Rex to help keep him entertained.
To watch the whole video that was created please click here