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Fears for future of New Milton table tennis pensioners after last table wrecked

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A TEAM of table tennis-playing pensioners fears they will have to disband after vandals wrecked their last remaining table at New Milton.

The 20 retired friends regularly played outdoor games on the recreation ground, off Whitefield Road, since 2020’s first Covid-19 lockdown, but the town council had to remove the last table for safety reasons at the beginning of May.

As reported in the A&T, this followed more than 18 months of campaigning by the group, led by Brenda Talbot, for the town council to replace the other three previously vandalised tables.

Brenda Talbot (centre) with her fellow players and the last table before the latest vandalism attack
Brenda Talbot (centre) with her fellow players and the last table before the latest vandalism attack

The last table had already been in a poor state before it was finally damaged beyond repair.

“It was a sad day for us all,” Brenda told the A&T.

“The longer we are without even one table, the harder it will be to maintain our regular meetings and we could disband forever.

“Playing together in the open air has given us all a new lease of life; we have formed close bonds and friendships and support each other, preventing isolation and loneliness.

The last table has now been vandalised
The last table has now been vandalised

“Our ages range from 60 to 85 and this was our way of keeping our physical and mental wellbeing, remaining fit, healthy and having lots of fun as well.”

Calling for concrete tables that would be less susceptible to damage, Brenda cited two located at Pennington’s Woodside Park as examples.

She added: “There are so many more people in New Milton young and old that want to enjoy the fresh air and a game of table tennis with their friends.”

Responding to the now more desperate plea for action, town clerk Graham Flexman said: “We are endeavouring to secure a couple of new table tennis tables for the recreation ground from New Forest District Council.”

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