KEN FLETCHER PARK opens

A bust of Kenny Fletcher has been made, paid for by public fund raising. Now the plan is to unveil it in December 2013. The bust will be on a plinth in KEN FLETCHER PARK, which is at the Queensland Tennis Centre at Tennyson, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. 

My tennis mate Kenny Fletcher has at last been honoured in his home town.

The Ken Fletcher Park was officially opened on Sunday 30 December 2012. The ribbon was cut by Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Kenny’s son Julien Fletcher, and Kenny’s partner Cathie Creagh (see link below).

Also present were former Australian tennis greats Ashley Cooper and Tony Roche. Tony Roche — who was in Brisbane to coach indefatigable Australian champion Lleyton Hewitt at the Brisbane International 2013 — spoke about Ken Fletcher’s legacy (see link below).

Previously, on Monday 3 December 2012, Kenny’s old mate from Hong Kong days, philanthropist Chuck Feeney, and his wife Helga Feeney, planted a tree in Ken fletcher’s honour at the park (see link below). You can give it a drink when you are there: it’s a banksia just near the Pat Rafter Arena and the coffee shop, near the ampitheatre.

They were invited by Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, who is a mean hand with a shovel.

On Wednesday 5 December 2012 Chuck and Helga opened the new building at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research for their friend Prof Lawrie Powell. Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Philanthropies contributed $27.5 million to the new building at the QIMR.

The links below will take you to some youtube films and radio interviews put together by reader Peter Rasey who got the ball rolling for the Ken Fletcher Park, and kept it rolling:

https://www.youtube.com/user/KenFletcherPark?feature=mhee

Interview about Ken Fletcher with Tony Roche on 30 December 2012 at official opening of Ken Fletcher Park:

Transcript of Tony Roche speaking 30 December 2012 at ribbon cutting for the Ken Fletcher Park, Tennyson, Brisbane:

“First of all, it’s great that you are honouring Ken with this fantastic park, congratulations to everybody involved.

“Look, I have very fond memories of Ken because when I first came on the scene, my first overseas trip was with Ken.

“He taught me many things, good and bad, I guess. But he said he would go through, give me a history lesson. He said: ‘Son, you know, you’re from the bush and you don’t know anything; just stick with me and I’ll teach you everything.’

“So he was fantastic to be in a team with, a great team man.

“That year he was seeded 2 at Wimbledon, my first year, that’s how good a player he was. Unfortunately he came down with tonsillitis and didn’t give his best account.

“One other good memory I have of Ken is that we were about to play the Davis Cup in Adelaide and (Harry)Hopman was after a doubles team for a big tie against America.

“Fletch was playing with Roy Emerson at the time; they had pretty good success; but Hop split the team and had Emerson play with I think (Fred) Stolle and then (John) Newcombe was teamed with Owen Davidson and Fletch got stuck with me and I was only a young kid at the time.

“It shows how good Fletch was — and I was only a junior at that stage — we went on and won the tournament.

“He taught me many good things about the game of doubles and was just a fantastic guy. I think the game of tennis misses characters like Fletch; I wish he was still here with his good humour and the way that he played; he was just a great person to be around.”

Also present: Peter Rasey recording; TV news crews; Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and wife Ann, Tennis Australia’s Chris Freeman, Tennis Queensland’s Ken Laffey, Ashley Cooper, Kenny’s partner Cathie Creagh, Kenny’s son Julien Fletcher, biographer Hugh Lunn

Peter Rasey interviews Hugh Lunn, Ken’s son Julien Fletcher, and Ken’s partner Cathie Creagh on 30 December 2012:

http://www.youtube.com/user/KenFletcherPark

American tennis champion Serena Williams took a celebratory stroll through Ken Fletcher Park after she won the Brisbane International in January 2013.

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