13-year-old Archie performs the coin toss at Wimbledon’s Ladies’ Final for Sparks
Tennis loving Archie Barker from South London took on the prestigious role of official ‘coin tosser’ at the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Final on Saturday 8th July, where he represented Sparks.
13-year-old Archie was born with clubfoot, a condition, which leads to a deformity of the foot, resulting in the child being unable to place the sole of the foot flat on the ground.
Little is known about the causes of this problem and treatment can take years and include numerous operations. Surgery can lead to scarring and stiffness and despite the best efforts of orthopaedic surgeons children can still be left with some disability.
Archie’s was diagnosed with clubfoot and given treatment at just five days old. He had to wear a plaster cast for the first 10 months of his life and learned to walk with a cast on his leg at just 13 months. When Archie was seven, he had an operation to release the tendons in his left foot in order to stop his foot curving inwards.
Anna Barker, Archie’s mum, comments: “Archie has had lots of different operations and treatments to get him where he is today. But he has coped with it fantastically and he is the one who has given us strength. This kind of perseverance and determination is a big part of Archie’s personality even now.
John Shanley, chief executive of Sparks, adds: “We are all so proud of Archie and delighted that he was selected for this honour at Wimbledon. He has done so much to help us raise awareness of clubfoot which affects around 1,000 children born every year in the UK.
HRH Princess Michael of Kent nominated Sparks as her charity choice and invited Archie to spend the day at Wimbledon and perform the famous coin toss on Centre Court. He was a guest of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and had lunch at Competitor’s restaurant, before watching the Ladies Singles Final.