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Mayor takes a stroke at table tennis record

KEVIN Taylor will not be able to take his eyes off the ball for a second if he’s to become a world record breaker and raise £1,500 for charity.

Never shy to take on a table tennis challenge, Stratford’s mayor is aiming to bounce a table tennis ball continuously on a bat for more than 5 hours and 36 minutes to help support one of his chosen charities – he will be donating all money raised from his latest adventure on 25th February to Safeline, a charity which supports victims of sexual abuse and rape.

“I wanted to do something quite different during my year as mayor to raise funds instead of dinners and balls,” Cllr Taylor told the Herald. “I’ve been training for a couple of hours a day where I have to bounce a ball on a bat without dropping it. If that happens I’ll have to start all over again.

“The current world record holder is from Spain and he managed it for 5 hours, 36 minutes and 3 seconds. I’m going to beat that time because when I’ve set my body and mind to do something I just do it.”

As well as the intense training programme, Cllr Taylor will be wearing a table tennis kit with “a twist” - it will have the mayoral chain printed on it - and he’s also carefully selected the bat he will use for the world record-breaking attempt; it will be a slow rubber which allows greater wrist control over the ball’s movement.

The night before he will eat pasta and on the morning of the big challenge, which will take place at Stratford Town Hall, he will tuck into porridge, because of the “slower energy release factor” they offer.

As well as the record-breaking factor, the challenge will support Safeline, a charity the mayor has chosen to raise money for because of its continuous support to victims of sexual abuse.

“I’m often asked to speak about Safeline and I remember how fortunate I was to have a wonderful upbringing,” Cllr Taylor explained. “Sadly, as a town councillor and mayor I’ve heard of so many individuals who have suffered incredibly and that’s why Safeline is a godsend.

“Not enough people understand the burden of the stress an abused person carries with them for the rest of their life and it can lead to spirals of depression. Therefore, any money I can raise will go to a truly deserved organisation that gives so much and I intend to stay on as ambassador for Safeline and raise more money when my year as mayor ends.”

Cllr Taylor has previously supported the Shakespeare Hospice with his table tennis skills – he raised £4,500 for the charity with a 21-hour table tennis marathon in 2020. The event celebrated 21 years of the hospice. He also did a 24-hour table tennis marathon last year.

To support the world record attempt, visit Cllr Taylor’s JustGiving site https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kevin-taylor48

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