Listen to clip of upcoming single Never Gone in memory of Ipswich tennis star Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha with members from her academy. Picture: JULIAN SINNEY

Elena Baltacha with members from her academy. Picture: JULIAN SINNEY - Credit: Archant

A charity single is being releasing in tribute to the late Ipswich tennis champion Elena Baltacha.

‘Never Gone’ by Alex Joseph will go live on July 3, coinciding with Wimbledon 2017, and 50% of the proceeds of sales will go to the Elena Baltacha Foundation, which carries on the work the star started before her death from liver cancer at the age of 30.

Alex, a singer-songwriter from Leicester and who works for the Tennis Foundation in London, met Elena - known to many as Bally - during his time playing on the junior tennis circuit.

He said: “It was an easy track to write as it came from the heart. I already knew her inspirational story and I wanted to pay my respects and highlight her achievements as well as help to keep her amazing legacy alive - something which the Elena Baltacha Foundation are building on to this day.”

He added: “The melody and music of ‘Never Gone’ just seemed to come together effortlessly. Of all the songs I’ve written, this is the one I feel the most emotional connection to because of my memories of Bally – and any organisation that helps to enrich lives through tennis is a no-brainer to support.”

Alex has already penned songs to raise money for groups such as the ITF Wheelchair Foundation, GB Wheelchair Basketball and GB Wheelchair Table Tennis.

Nino Severino, Elena’s husband and chairman of the Elena Baltacha Foundation, has given his backing to the project.

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He said: “The song reminds me of Bally’s kind nature and everything she meant to so many people.

“Bally will never be gone all the time that her work and legacy are carried on through the Elena Baltacha Foundation, and tributes like this will help keep her memory alive so that we can carry on with the fantastic work she started before she lost her fight to liver cancer in 2014.”

Elena lived in Ipswich and in 2010 she and Nino set up the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, based at Ipswich Sports Club, providing coaching to children, especially to those from deprived areas and disadvantaged backgrounds.

The foundation gives financial support to the academy as well as running its own campaigns and initiatives, working under the same ethos.

‘Never Gone’ will be available from all major music download sites from Monday, July 3.