WIMBLEDON '95: 'Come on you 'orrible lot - get the Mexican wave going'

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The Independent Online
Wimbledon's traditions are what makes the tournament the greatest in the world. The All England Club adds class and style to parts of the championships which others ignore.

Not for Wimbledon the student stewards who are on duty at so many other tournaments, here you get real service - the Army, Air Force, Navy, Police, Ambulance and Fire Services to be precise.

Members of each of the Armed Forces and Emergency Services are on duty for the fortnight - and there is never a shortage of volunteers.

"It is certainly a sought-after perk," says fireman Tim Cutbill, who has been stewarding at Wimbledon for the last six years. "You can either do it on your off-duty days or take two weeks' leave and come here for the whole tournament. I take holiday because I enjoy this so much."

Also on leave is Tim's fellow Court Two steward, Jeff Walker. "If you love tennis, then this is the ideal life," he says. "I have been coming here for eight years and I never get tired of it."

The pair answer a whole range of queries from spectators but the fun really starts when the rain falls and the covers come on.

"We turn into cheerleaders and get the crowd going," Tim says. "A couple of years ago we started a Mexican wave on Court One and we have pulled a few other stunts over the years.

"The way we look at it is that the public are here to be entertained. Many of them have queued for hours to get in and are determined to enjoy their day out.

"Obviously the tennis is the number one attraction, but if it starts raining we try to keep their spirits up. The people here are amazing - you get such a buzz off of them. It's a great place to be."

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