There was time for a little 'horsing around' during play

Milton Keynes’ own Commonwealth Games star Andrew Baggaley was on hand to help launch Ping! 2014 under glorious blue skies at the Milton Keynes Central train station.

With the rays beating down on the ping pong punters, England’s record Commonwealth Games medal winner Andrew, was on hand to give out a few tips and welcome everyone to get involved in the exciting table tennis initiative.

“It’s beautiful, definitely the weather helps,” said the 31-year-old, “When it’s like this it will encourage people to come and play. Today has been fantastic. I’ve seen a lot of people playing around and it’s fantastic that this initiative has come up now and all across the country to start getting people playing table tennis.

Andrew and sister Esther knock-up in front of the BBC Look East cameras

Born in Northampton, the full-time professional was taking time out of his pre-Commonwealth Games schedule, to help promote the event – into it’s fifth year, alongside a gathering of local press including BBC Look East, BBC Three Counties Radio and BBC Radio Northampton.

“It’s been really good, we’ve just come back from the training in Glasgow and it’s been a lovely day today doing this. It’s been great to see my family too as I’ve been away for a few days.

“It fits really well with the Commonwealth Games. People playing table tennis today all around the country will see it at the Commonwealth Games and tune in to watch.”

The Ping! project, which has extended to 15 cities across England, included a showpiece launch on the lawns inside Parliament and aims to get as many members of the general public playing as possible.

BBC Look East presenter Jonathan Park and the BBC 3 Counties Radio staff couldn't resist a knock

With tables popping up across Milton Keynes in venues such as the train station, the Centre:MK and at Willen Lake, Andrew thinks the results can only be positive for the local schools and leagues in and around the city.

“It’s great to see all levels playing and it’s really encouraging, these six weeks will be fantastic.” Andrew added: “It will help people to come into the local leagues – now that it’s summer the kids are off school they can play and get involved and their families can join in too.

“Table tennis is a great sport because it is so accessible, everyone can play, it’s for all ages.”

Kris Holland from BBC Radio Northampton talks to Andrew during a break in play

To find out more information on Ping! in Milton Keynes, visit the website:

by Russell Moore (July 18, 2014)