First pianos in Bristol, then gorillas. Now it's ping-pong tables...
BRISTOL is set to go ping-pong mad this summer.
Using £280,000 of National Lottery funding, Sport England will put 48 table-tennis tables around the city to encourage more people to play the sport. They will be available for anyone to use – free of charge.
The fund has been created in response to the success of 'Ping!', a London-wide initiative which saw 100 tables placed across the capital.
Last year 'Ping!' went to Birmingham and Hull and this year it's the turn of Bristol, Liverpool and London again.
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Although the locations of the tables have yet to be formally announced, they are likely to include Bristol Cathedral, Bristol Zoo, M shed, the BT Tower at Purdown and Hengrove Leisure Centre.
Other possible locations could include Colston Hall, the Old Vic and ss Great Britain, the Post understands.
In addition to free play, the English Table Tennis Association will host a series of master classes, tournaments and coaching sessions. Also on offer will be Random Acts of Ping Pong, a programme of ping-pong related art and Midnight Ping! with glow in the dark balls. The tables are up from June 29 for four to six weeks.
Each table will have a volunteer "monitor" who will be in charge of bats and balls, to make sure that some are available when people want to play.
But people can also take their own along.
Councillor Simon Cook, deputy leader of Bristol City Council and executive member for sport, said: "Ping! Bristol is going to be great fun this summer. There will be over 40 ping-pong tables across the city in our parks and public spaces, so wherever you live you can get involved and have a go.
"The city council is delighted to be part of this national campaign to get more people taking part in sporting activities."
The idea is reminiscent of the "play me" piano project that took place in Bristol three years ago, when pianos were placed in public places across the city for people to enjoy for free.
Although many did, a number were destroyed by vandals – the first city where that had happened despite the project previously taking place in Sydney, Sao Paulo, Birmingham and London.
Sport England's chief executive Jennie Price said: "We'd like to see ping-pong tables popping up everywhere – from village greens to university canteens, and city squares to community centres. The important thing for any organisation applying for a table is to demonstrate that it will be well used."
"Ping! has proved one of our most successful sports participation projects, attracting more than 150,000 participants to date
"Moreover, our active people survey shows that once people start playing they don't want to stop."
For more information go to www.pingengland.co.uk.