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Tennis brings hope to refugees

A KILLALOE tennis coach is serving up more free coaching sessions for underprivileged children and adults in memory of his parents in Romania from June 23 to 29. Wesley O’Brien is raising money to fund his latest overseas trip through his charity “Hit and Hope”. Mr O’Brien set up this charity to bring free tennis lessons and equipment to kids and youth affected by war and conflict. It has grown to provide tennis coaching in refugee camps, disadvantaged communities, underprivileged kids and special needs families from all over Europe. His latest venture will be done in memory of his parents who died within three weeks of each other earlier this year. Mary O’Brien, née Reddan, Crossroads, Killaloe, died on Christmas Eve, 2003 before her husband, Eddie on January 14, 2024. “I was doing these trips for a long time before my parents passed away. But these trips are particularly relevant to me now. I like to think that my parents’ …

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Tennis for Ukrainian refugees in Shannon

A TENNIS programme is being run throughout July for Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in Shannon. It started last week and is being run by Wesley O’Brien, who said it came to Shannon after something similar began in Meelick a few weeks earlier. “About three weeks ago I started a similar programme at the Radisson Hotel for the families there,” Wesley told The Champion. “A lady called Siobhán Boyd reached out to me, who’s with a group in Shannon, and she asked if I’d do something for the families in Shannon so I said no problem.” He was very pleased with how it had begun. “It went very well, we had good numbers considering it was the first day. We broke it into different age groups, there were five to ten-year-olds from half two to half three, 11 to 17 from half three to half four and then 18 and over from 4.30 to 5.30pm. Considering it was the first …

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Ace efforts from Wesley in Greece

A KILLALOE based tennis coach, who has introduced the sport of tennis to residents of a Greek refugee camp, is urging the public to support charities like Lighthouse Relief who are helping those fleeing war torn countries. Wesley O’Brien, a coach at the Killaloe Tennis Club said while the issue may have gone off the news cycle, it is still a major international crisis that needs continued support. He said rather than sitting on a beach in Lanzarote he wanted to do more with his skills and wanted share the joy of tennis with those less fortunate. In 2018 he got in touch with a number NGOs and was directed to Lighthouse Relief, who work with refugees from Syria, Iraq and Turkey. The charity has a base on the island of Lesvos where they have a first responder team who help migrants fleeing by boat. Their second base is at the Ritsona refugee camp where they cater for more than …

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