Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 2°C

Search

Gallery: Hundreds turn out to pay respects to tennis star Elena Baltacha

15:06 19 May 2014

Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha

Archant

Hundreds of mourners including Tim Henman, Laura Robson and Judy Murray gathered to pay their respects to former British number one Elena Baltacha at her funeral.

shares

She was diagnosed with liver cancer in January, just two months after retiring from tennis and weeks after marrying her long-time coach Nino Severino. She passed away on May 4, aged 30.

A piper played as hundreds of friends and family packed in to St John’s Church in Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich, to say goodbye to Bally.

Stars including former British number ones Tim Henman and Jo Durie, former Fed Cup team members Anne Keothavong and Laura Robson, Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leon Smith and tennis broadcaster Annabel Croft filed into the church for the service.

Following Elena’s wishes, mourners wore their brightest colours as she “did not want everyone in black”.

The hearse was filled with floral tributes spelling “EBAT x” in honour of the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which she set up to help disadvantaged children take up sport, and “BALLY x”.

A floral arrangement of yellow roses with a Ukrainian flag laid on top of the coffin as six pallbearers carried it in to the church.

It was followed by Elena’s family, including husband Nino who was supported by Elena’s long-term mentor and Great Britain Fed Cup captain Judy Murray.

Other mourners included LTA head of women’s tennis Iain Bates, Ipswich swimmer Karen Pickering, Ipswich mayor Hamil Clarke, former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks and future stars from Elena’s tennis academy, including Justice Hall who is determined to win Wimbledon in Bally’s memory.

In a statement, friends and family said: “The tributes and love for Bally from around the world in the last two weeks and the way that everyone has got behind the Rally For Bally have made us so proud of her and how she touched people’s lives.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support. We know that her memory and her spirit will live on.”

Elena, the daughter of former Ipswich Town footballer Sergei Baltacha, had retired from professional tennis after a career which had seen her ranked as the British number one for 132 weeks, from December 2009 to June 2012. Her highest singles ranking was 49.

She had dealt with a liver condition, primary sclerosing cholangitis, since the age of 19 with medication and regular blood tests.

Defying her illness, she went on to win 11 singles titles, reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2002 and represented Great Britain in the Fed Cup for 11 years.

Her family have asked that donations be made to Rally For Bally, with all funds split equally between the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the charity attached to the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis. To date, nearly £30,000 has been raised.

Visit www.justgiving.com/rallyforbally or text “EBAL60 £5” to 70070 to make, for example, a £5 donation.

A Rally Against Cancer – Rally For Bally – will now be held in her memory on June 15 to raise funds jointly for Royal Marsden national cancer charity and Elena Baltacha Foundation, the charity attached to the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, Ross Hutchins, Martina Navratilova, Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski, Jamie Murray, Jonny Marray, Anne Keothavong and Heather Watson are some of the names who will play in mixed doubles exhibition matches at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and the Aegon International in Eastbourne.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Rollerworld Colchester

A casting call to recruit keen skaters for a music video at Colchester’s iconic rollerblading venue has received 60 responses in just 24 hours.

Remnants of what is thought to be an 18th century ship found by Mark Hopkins on Thorpeness beach

Remnants of a what is thought to be a centuries-old shipwreck have resurfaced on the Suffolk coast.

Early morning sunrise at Southwold - visit the pier for a quirky day out

With Valentine’s Day nearly upon us, editor in chief Terry Hunt has shared his list of Suffolk’s top 10 romantic places - so there is no excuse not to make your beloved feel special.

How will you make your Valentine feel special this weekend?

A secret admirer has come clean about his feelings for a shop assistant in Ipswich - could you be the object of his affections?

An artist's impression of the street scene at Wolsey Grange.

Plans for hundreds of homes on the outskirts of Ipswich have been approved – despite being shot down at a previous meeting.

An early 'dishwasher' at the 1920 Ideal Home Show Exhibition - they don't build them like they used to

They don’t build them like they used - that is the sentiment of a Suffolk man who has finally scrapped his trusty dishwasher 27 years after it was first installed.

Beardmore Park.
lings

The relocation of a Martlesham garden centre, which had been facing closure, could pave the way for Marks and Spencer to expand its neighbouring store significantly.

St Mary-at-the-Quay church.

The medieval Waterfront building is undergoing a £5million transformation to become a multi-use community centre with a wellbeing and heritage centre theme.

The accident happened on the A12 at Chelmsford

All lanes have now reopened on the A12 at Chelmsford following an accident in which a man died this morning.

A few views of the river Stour at Flatford

From gusty wind and grey skies, to calm waters and a sneaky peak at the winter sun - this week has been a changeable one weatherwise.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24