Webber puts brakes on F1 season to help club

Hundreds of fans and well-wishers turned out to see Formula 1 race ace Mark Webber officially open a new sports facility in his home village of Aston Clinton.

Webber gave up some of his free time on Saturday during a break before the Spanish Grand Prix to open the rebuilt floodlit tennis courts and new netball facility at Aston Park Tennis Club.

Aston’s own fundraising efforts were boosted by an award from Sport England’s Inspired Facility Olympics Legacy Fund as well as grants from Aston Clinton 
Parish Council and Aylesbury Vale’s community Chest 

Aston Park Tennis Club chairman Barbara Wilkinson said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Mark agreed to perform the opening for us. As a Bucks ambassador and a keen sports enthusiast he has supported our efforts from the beginning.”

The official opening got under way at 11am where the Aussie played in a doubles match with the club’s first team captain Kevin Clausner and members Simon Sluszny and Andrew Nurse .

First team captain Mr Clausner said: “Playing tennis with Mark was a real privilege, winning the match and giving him a ‘high five’ was a fantastic highlight.

“What a great down to earth guy he is in supporting our club and our village life”

The racket the racing star played with was later autographed and auctioned off.

It was bought by club member Andrew Nurse for £325. Other fundraising events included a raffle of other signed merchandise donated by Webber.

For three young junior members at the club the sporting celebrity visit was one to remember.

Mini Red Club champion Tim Fryer, seven, and his brother Sam, nine presented the Red Bull driver with a certificate of lifetime membership of the club, whilst 11-year-old Tom Pendlebery took the microphone to thank the F1 champ for coming along.

Mrs Wilkinson added: “Mark was great – he made it all fun despite the wet weather and signed loads of autographs.”

Members of the public were invited to try out the facilities, which include three new hard courts and floodlighting.