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101 year-old Llanelli tennis veteran named ‘Brave Briton’ award finalist

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Llanelli’s tennis legend Basil Smith – who still plays three times a week even though he is now 101 – has been named a finalist in the Amplifon Awards For Brave Britons 2022.

Basil, who continues to regularly serve at Swansea Tennis Centre, has reached the final four of the Active Agers category in global-hearing specialist Amplifon’s search for the ‘Best of British’ heroes.

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He will now be invited to the virtual awards presentation on Tuesday, October 11th. The event will be hosted by BBC1 TV Breakfast and Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden. Falklands War Hero and fellow Welshman Simon Weston will be guest of honour.

Former postmaster Basil started playing tennis when he was eight years old and regularly plays against opponents half his age.

He exercises at least twice a day for an hour-and-a-half to maintain his match sharpness.

Basil, who was captain of the Llanelli team in the 1950s, said: “I think it is my secret to have kept me playing so long. I still feel like I am 30, I am in good health. I also believe if you love doing something you should keep going for as long as you can.

When the members of Swansea Tennis Centre took ownership of the club in 2011, Basil invited former Wimbledon champion Andrew Murray’s mum Judy to open the facility before they played out a draw on the court.

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The Amplifon Awards For Brave Britons are in their seventh year and celebrate truly remarkable people and pets, and the winners will be judged by a panel including Falklands War Hero Simon Weston.

The finals awards luncheon will be a virtual ceremony on Tuesday, October 11th, hosted by BBC Radio 5Live Breakfast and BBC One Breakfast TV presenter Rachel Burden.

Set up in honour of Amplifon’s founder, Second World War Hero Major Charles Holland, the awards recognise courage and achievement in the categories of: Against All Odds, Active Agers, Young Hero, Hero Pet, and Celebrity Hero. The judges will choose an Overall Hero Award winner from the category winners.

Charles Holland was awarded the MBE and Military Cross, while also receiving the Bronze Star from the United States government in 1948 for his bravery behind enemy lines during the Second World War.

After the war he dedicated his life to providing better hearing for people affected by the conflict and in 1950 launched Amplifon which has become a global company specialising in providing the best hearing solutions and devices.

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