Redgrave teenager flipped the coin at Wimbledon final

Sophie Snowling with her brother Jake at home in Redgrave. Sophie was nominated by EACH to flip the

Sophie Snowling with her brother Jake at home in Redgrave. Sophie was nominated by EACH to flip the coin at the start of the Wimbledon ladies final on Saturday after her brother was diagnosed with brain cancer. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

A Redgrave teenager took centre stage at Wimbledon this afternoon when she took a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to perform the coin toss before the ladies' final on centre court.

Sports-mad Sophie Snowling, 14, was invited by staff at East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), after The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, nominated the charity to benefit.

Sophie and her family have received support from EACH since her 16-year-old brother Jake was diagnosed with a brain tumour in November 2011.

The pair, who live in Churchway, Redgrave, near Diss, with their parents Mark and Donna, were invited by EACH, which has provided 'invaluable' support to the family since Jake's diagnosis.

Sophie, who is in year nine at Hartismere High, Eye, plays for the Norfolk U15 cricket team and is also in the school hockey, rounders and netball teams.


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Earlier this week, she said: 'I was so happy when I found out. At first I thought we were just being given tickets, but when I found out I was going on centre court for the coin toss I couldn't believe it.

'I'll get the opportunity to shake hands with the two finalists - I'm so excited.

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'It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so grateful to EACH. When I told all my friends they couldn't believe it.

'It's going to be hot so it should be a great day, I can't wait to watch the match.

'When I am on the court I will be really happy, I don't think I will get camera shy.'

Millions of people around the world will watch the event on Saturday afternoon.

She added: 'EACH has helped me to cope with everything that's happened with Jake and I've had support at home and at the hospice. I'm not currently having sessions, but I know EACH is there if I need them.

'They talked through things with us. Jake and I get on well and we have a lot in common, we like a lot of the same music.'

And budding photographer Jake will be taking photos of his sister's special moment on Saturday.

Mrs Snowling said: 'He has coped quite well and he is ok at the moment. Jake was 14 when he was diagnosed. He used to play most sports and was always outdoors.

'One of his eyes moved outwards. We went to the optician on the Friday and they said we should go straight to the hospital.'

Jake was referred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and the following day he was diagnosed with cancer.

Sophie, Jake and their parents will take an early train to London tomorrow where they will have a tour of Wimbledon. At 2pm Sophie will step out onto the court with finalists Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki where she will flip the coin.

Whoever wins the toss will be able to serve first.

Mrs Snowling, 49, said: 'It will be nice to watch it live with a bowl of strawberries rather than on the TV. We always watch Wimbledon on the TV as a family. We're a very sports minded family and have talked about going to Wimbledon in the past – but we've never been before so it's really exciting.

'It'll be great and it's something we're all really looking forward to as a family.'

Mention of the event will be made in the Wimbledon official programme and there will be a public address announcement just before the final.

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