Wimbledon donates strawberries to NHS workers

Rosie Milne from the Wimbledon Museum department helping prepare strawberries as part of the AELTC Initiative to prepare Wimbledon strawberries for NHS key workers as a thank you for all their work since the outbreak of COVID-19. Tuesday 30th June 2020. AELTC/Bob Martin

Wimbledon has begun donating 200 portions of strawberries per day to front-line NHS workers in London for what should have been the fortnight of the Grand Slam, the All England Club announced on Thursday.

The club said more than 26,000 strawberries that would have been used for Wimbledon, which was due to start Monday but was cancelled for the first time since World War II because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be donated as a "small gesture of appreciation for the dedicated service of the NHS".

Richard Lewis CBE, chief executive of the club, said in a statement: "Since the cancellation of The Championships, we have been very focused on doing what we can to help those in our local community who are undergoing hardship as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

"Our staff have been particularly keen to do what they can to help during this time and we were pleased that so many of them volunteered to take part in the strawberry hulling operation during the Wimbledon Fortnight.

"We would like to extend our thanks once more to Food & Drink at Wimbledon, our year-round catering partner, and City Harvest, our distribution partner, as we work with them to play a small part in helping our community through this time of crisis."

Last month, the club began a meal programme, set to run for three months, to deliver 200 hot meals a day to vulnerable people in neighbouring London boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth. Those on the food programme will also receive portions of Wimbledon strawberries.

The 134th Wimbledon championship will be staged from June 28 to July 11, 2021.