Harpenden man witness to Andy Murray and Fred Perry Wimbledon wins

PUBLISHED: 18:00 10 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:54 10 July 2013

Fred Skinner with a news article about Andy Murray's triumph at Wimbledon

Fred Skinner with a news article about Andy Murray's triumph at Wimbledon

Archant

MILLIONS watched as Andy Murray became the first British man to lift the Wimbledon trophy since Fred Perry in 1936 – but could a Harpenden resident be the only person to have witnessed both matches?

Well yes, it’s quite possible as 94-year-old Fred Skinner was lucky enough to attend the men’s championship final 77 years ago and tuned in to see the Scot race to victory on Sunday.

Fred was 17 years old when thanks to a complimentary ticket given to him from his uncle he saw the now sporting legend clinch his third consecutive Wimbledon title.

The Field House Nursing Home resident said: “I had access to some free tickets to the grounds that I obtained through my uncle who was a billing clerk at Southfields Station and he used to receive a certain number of tickets and passed them on to me because he could not use them.”

Perry won his last Wimbledon Grand Slam in straight sets against Baron Gottfried von Cramm in a match that went on for just 40 minutes.

Remembering the packed-out final the former Rothamsted Research employee continued: “It was nothing very remarkable, he was not billed as a great star at that time, he was just a very good player. I could not get any seats to the men’s final so I was standing in the corner of the court.

He added: “I felt very lucky to be there. I remember a succession of very hard ace shots. It was not pretty tennis to watch.”

Fred said he thought a Brit would eventually win again and was pleased Murray was able to end the nation’s long wait.

Like his predecessor the 26-year-old defeated his opponent, world number one Novak Djokovic, in three straight sets on Sunday, but received £1.6 million in prize money compared with Perry’s £10.

Fred’s wife Mary said: “The whole thing was unusual; the rest of Fred’s classmates at school didn’t go [to see Perry] and the only chance that somebody might have gone is if they lived near to the courts.

“I would think he is one of the only surviving people who watched Fred Perry and Andy Murray win at Wimbledon.”

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