Lily Mills joins Bright Ideas for Tennis as a Charity Ambassador

Lily Mills joins Bright Ideas for Tennis as a Charity Ambassador

We are delighted to welcome Lily Mills as our latest Bright Ideas for Tennis Ambassador. Lily is an inspiration to so many of us and absolutely loves her tennis.

Recently Lily joined us at our annual 24hr Tennis Marathon and shared her recent successes including competing at this year’s Australian Open Persons With Intellectual Impairments where she came 7th in singles and Runner Up in Women’s Doubles bringing home a trophy. The participants enjoyed looking at her medals and getting the chance to play against her. Lily’s story below written by her mother Tallulah and we are looking forward to working more closely with Lily.

Welcome Lily! 

Lily was 4 days old when she contracted Ecoli-Meningitis. She spent 2 weeks on life support at Great Ormond Street Hospital where she was also diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Galactosaemia. The doctors said she had a 50/50 chance of survival and if she did survive she would have severe disabilities. 

Her lovely nurse said she was a real fighter as she clung on to life. 

Her brother played tennis so I decided to try and teach her some catching and throwing, mainly for her coordination. She struggled at first and I tried to find a coach but they weren’t interested. So with the help of friends and my son we preserved. Eventually we found a coach who taught Lily but it was outside and because she was so thin she was too cold in the winter and gave it up. 

Lily found it hard to communicate and express herself and was far behind her peers in early childhood. When Lily reached 10 her peers were starting to have more independence and she was left aside.

I decided to take her back to tennis only this time it was indoors. Because she had had some training she took to it immediately. She made friends with the other players and loved it. She was no longer lonely. Lily went from strength to strength and was picked to play in the squads. 

We first learned about learning disability regional tournaments when Lily was 13. The first one she played she won all her matches and got a gold medal. This gave her so much sense of achievement which she had never experienced before. This was the first of many. 

In 2016, she competed in the Special Olympics National Summer Games. She won silver in both singles and mixed doubles. She was then selected to represent GB in Abu Dhabi 2019 Special Olympics World Games and won gold in both singles and doubles. After this came selection of the LTA GB Development Squad for Learning Disabilities where she has been training ever since. 

Last year she was selected for the Global Games in Vichy, France for Virtus. Virtus-Sport is for elite athletes with an intellectual impairment. She won silver in the women’s team and then traveled straight to Berlin for Special Olympics World Games where she won bronze in singles and another gold in mixed doubles. 

Lily’s biggest challenge so far was completing at this year’s Australian Open Persons With Intellectual Impairments, where she came 7th in singles and runner up  in women’s doubles bringing home a trophy. 

Lily lives and breathes tennis. 

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