Brighton Table Tennis Club has plenty of coaches – now they have their own bus as well! Club founders Tim Holtam and Wen Wei are featured on the side of a bus in the city as part of a new community initiative.
Both men are part of Brighton & Hove Buses’ Above & Beyond initiative, which celebrates people who have gone out of their way to make a positive impact on other people’s lives.
Their faces can be seen on the side of a route 1 bus, along with more community champions on 23 other new buses, as they travel between Mile Oak, Whitehawk and the city.
Each bus features a story about their amazing achievements on panels and on TV screens inside. People were nominated by local community groups and members of the public.
Tim and fellow table tennis star Wen Wei co-founded Brighton Table Tennis Club (BTTC) in 2007, originally to give working-class kids from deprived suburbs something to do, but it has since grown into something much bigger.
Nowadays, the club has its own full-time centre in Kemptown and runs 200 tables across Sussex.
Over the past year, pandemic restrictions permitting, they have run games on 30 outdoor table tennis tables across the city, keeping people fit and connected. They will be out playing on them again today for World Table Tennis Day.
“There are no parameters as to who can join: anyone of any age can come and play,” said Tim. “We’ve added different groups over the years and it’s now used by other clubs as a model for community integration and social cohesion.
“We all need to be part of a number of communities and the past year has been so hard. A lot of people have been struggling and table tennis is great because it really improves your mental and physical health.”
Brighton & Hove and Metrobus Managing Director Martin Harris said: “Tim and Wen Wei are great examples of the tremendous, enduring difference two people can make to the lives of hundreds of other people.
“I’ve been really inspired by the stories of all of the Above & Beyond community champions and I am so pleased to publicly recognise the work they do by putting them on our buses.”