How ORF Began

HOW ORF BEGAN

It all started with a few old tennis balls.

On a spring day in 1974 the resort’s tennis pro, Bob Raedisch, noticed some boys from the village hanging around the court looking for some old tennis balls for their game of cricket. When they came back the next day, Bob offered to teach them how to play tennis, and soon he had a core group of 12 boys turning up regularly for practice.

Curtain Bluff’s owners, Howard and his wife ChelleHulford, quickly got involved, equipping the players and driving the teams to tournaments around the island. Chelle, a former teacher, started giving impromptu afternoon lessons in the shade of Curtain Bluff’s giant tamarind tree. And within a few short months the program’s benefits had expanded to include job offers, training and further education. “From the beginning, the Old Road Fund was about more than tennis,” Bob recalls. “Those kids that showed a good work ethic, discipline and high school grades, were given every opportunity.”

It worked. Encouraged, nurtured and financially supported, those original 12 boys thrived. Two became USTA-accredited tennis pros at Curtain Bluff (Rennie George recently retired after 40 years and Nigel Anthony is still coaching). One went on to become a senator in the Antiguan parliament. Another became Antigua’s Minister of Tourism. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Since those early days, ORF has touched the lives of thousands of Antiguans and Barbudans, helping them to realize their potential through further education and overseas opportunities, recover from health emergencies, and improve their communities.