Welcome to the Richard Darton Tennis Foundation

Supporting & coaching children to the highest standards

What is the RDTF?

The Richard Darton Tennis foundation (RDTF) was set up by tennis professional Hamid Hejazi, inspired by his own life experiences and is named after his late grandfather Richard Darton who set Hamid on his way to a tennis career.

The aim of the RDTF is to give as many children as possible the opportunity to play tennis to a high standard and for the sport to have a positive impact on their lives.

Who will benefit from the RDTF?

With the help of local school support we will be offering scholarships to children who in general terms could do with a break.

Examples of this could be that they are from very low income families, from broken homes, or even that they are in and out of school with behavioural issues.

Ultimately we want to use tennis to make a difference to children's lives that other wise would not have the chance to play this great game.

How will they benefit?

We want every child to enjoy their tennis and to gain life experiences such as travelling to new places and meeting new people. At no point however, would tennis interfere with their education and school responsibilities. We believe tennis can be the catalyst to motivate the child at school.

The tennis achievements of several friends of the RDTF have taken them to American universities. Although this is not the charity’s main objective, we hope it is a possibility. Scholarships that will take children around the world require commitment in school and consistent results as well as good sporting skills.

What is the ultimate goal?

'To give opportunities to children that without the charity's support they would not other wise have'. The focus of the charity is to improve the quality of life for our chosen children through playing tennis and at the of their journey get them into a position where a career in tennis coaching is an option should they so wish to pursue it.

Along the way this would involve keeping fit, having good role models supporting them, learning lifelong social skills and ultimately giving them something to be proud of.

Of course a coaching career will not be for everyone, but we feel the project is a fantastic way of giving children access to several career possibilities and most important of all helping them develop into well rounded people.

Why Tennis?

Unlike team sports where it is easy to blend in, tennis is a game where you’re out there on your own. You have to learn to fight hard without violence, try your best whilst learning to accept defeat and respect the rules. These are great life skills that through tennis any child can learn. By having coaches and older tennis players as role models along with learning the discipline that tennis teaches we feel that most children who go through this process with us will also go on to become far better people in society.

Children will be made to stick to rules, volunteer their time as they get older and have the sort of role models around them to ensure ‘good people’ come out of the programme regardless of whether they become ‘good’ tennis players. If through this charity we develop average tennis players, no tennis coaches but lots of ‘good people’ then everyone involved will feel its been worth while and a real success.

Our Patron: Jeff Wayne...

Born in Forest Hills, New York, Jeff Wayne is an award winning composer, arranger, conductor and producer including stage, film, TV, records, advertising and interactive projects.

He’s worked with The Who, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Catherine Zeta Jones, Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, Russell Watson, Rhydian, Jason Donovan, The London Symphony Orchestra and Choir, Justin Hayward, David Essex, Phil Lynott, Human League, Orbital, Todd Terry, N-Trance, Dario G, Hybrid, Pendulum, Croatian piano virtuoso Maksim, Kerry Ellis, Ricky Wilson, Marti Pellow, Joss Stone, Maverick Sabre, Alex Clare, Gary Barlow and Liam Neeson and Jeff’s music has been performed by gymnasts (2012 Olympic Games), jugglers, dancers, ice skaters, magicians, fire-eaters, animals and ‘Ali G’ on the 2005 MTV Awards!

Jeff’s musical interpretation of HG Wells’ The War of The Worlds has achieved international acclaim, winning two UK Ivor Novello Awards and the USA’s Best Recording in Science Fiction and Fantasy, (with Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg judging). With multi-million sales, it’s also amongst the longest running albums in UK chart history, currently over 330 weeks.

Always liking a challenge, in 2004, Jeff created The Book of Tennis and television series - The Book of Tennis Chronicles distributed by Fox Sports.

In 2006, the arena tour - The War of The Worlds – Alive on Stage! was launched, with Jeff conducting a renowned cast with audiences and critics hailing it as one of the most innovative marriages of music, technology and live performance. In 2007 Jeff won Classic Rock’s Showman of The Year Award for it.

Alive! returned in 2007, 2009 and 2010 across the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The most recent tour - The New Generation performed in the UK and Europe between November 2012 and January 2013.

In 2006 a DVD filmed at London’s Wembley Arena hit No 1 for 7 straight weeks in the UK and broadcast on Sky Movies. A new DVD performed at London’s 02 arena and based on The New Generation tour will be seen in the UK and internationally in digital cinemas from April 2013 then released for Christmas this year followed by TV.

Tennis has been part of Jeff’s life from age 5. Taught by his father Jerry (the original Sky Masterson in the West End production of Guys and Dolls), he captained and played No 1 for his high school and college teams (while securing a journalism degree). Today he captains Hertfordshire County Men (22 years), is a member of the International Club of Great Britain, has won national Veteran Singles and Doubles titles and represented Great Britain.

Jeff’s also played many pro-am tournaments including for Muscular Dystrophy, Olympic Games and Save The Children, and is a long-standing Patron of HAD (Hertfordshire Action on Disability) and a Vice President of the LTA Dan Maskell Trust.

Jeff and Geraldine live in Hertfordshire, England and have four children: daughters Anna-Marie - an actress; Jemma - an author and journalist; and sons Zeb – a musician and DJ on the international club scene; and Joab, studying philosophy at Birmingham University and a national standard tennis player.

Our Trustees...

We would love to hear from you.

Get in touch with us using the email below!