Table tennis is proving a hugely popular sport in Rossendale thanks to ‘Mr Table Tennis’, Graham Young.

Graham delivers PE lessons and after-school club table tennis sessions in primary and secondary schools through Rossendale School Sports Partnership.

The sport is particularly strong at All Saints Catholic High School in Rawtenstall, which was where Year 5 and 6 Boys and Girls Competitions were held.

School games organiser, Nathan Bibby, said: “We had 40 girls and 40 boys enter and they came from 20 out of the 31 primary schools in Rossendale.

“For each competition, we formed eight groups of five and ran round robin games with the winner of each group going forward to the quarter finals.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Sports leaders from All Saints umpired matches at group stage and the final, semi-final and third place play off were presided over by All Saints Head of PE Martin Parkes, Graham and Trevor Elkington, a director at Kay Street Baptist Table Tennis Club in Rawtenstall.

Graham has been coaching for 15 years, but has only recently stopped playing, and was impressed with the standard of young players.

He runs a regular club at St Saviour’s Primary School in Bacup and two former pupils now play league table tennis Josh and Mollie McClean, and as last year’s table tennis winner, Year 7 All Saints student Mollie presented the trophy to this year’s winner and also helped to umpire.

Graham said: “I have played in the local league and in the early 70s I was number two in Lancashire Juniors and trialled for England.

“It is great teaching children as it is a minority sport so they are learning to do a sport that they normally do not get to play.

"We have had quite a few from the school clubs go on to join Kay Street Baptist club, Hyndburn and to play for Lancashire.

“Sometimes, when I go into schools, there are no table tennis tables so we have use two desks pushed together and fix a net between them.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Trevor said: "It has been a privilege to work with the RSSP over the past few years and the annual Primary School Table Tennis Competition held at All Saints has been a highlight.

“Some of the young players have become part of a table tennis coaching pathway at Kay Street TTC where they have worked with me to progress from beginners to playing in the local East Lancashire Table Tennis League where Kay Street currently has four youth teams competing.

“I witnessed a game between one of our juniors aged 10 and a lovely gentleman just turned 90. They competed on equal terms with the 90-year-old winning 11:8 in the fifth games.

“There are very few sports which could unite across a 80 year age gap and so our Rossendale young players really are learning a skill to last a lifetime."

The winners of the local competition were:

Boys: 1. Sam from St Peter’s, 2. George from St Paul’s, 3. Harry from Waterfoot

Girls: 1. Evelyn, St Paul’s, 2. Lola, St James the Less, 3. Gianella, Waterfoot.