PING pong tables will be dusted off and put up in several locations across the city as part of a month-long festival.

The free event, which aims to get more people into playing table tennis, will be launched at Bury Knowle Park in Oxford on Saturday, August 3.

And it’s hoped hundreds of people will come out and have a go at the sport.

Running until September 7, the festival will see tables pop up at nine locations including the railway station, Oxford Castle and Blackbird Leys Park.

Created by Sing London, a non-profit participatory arts organisation, Ping! is being delivered by Oxford City Council with the help of £15,000 National Lottery funding from Sport England.

The city has been chosen as one of ten hosts for the project and city councillor Mark Lygo, board member for parks, sports and events, said: “Table tennis is easy to learn and great for improving mental wellbeing and physical health, but best of all it is fun to play.

“I’m looking forward to picking up a bat and having a go myself.”

The tables will be foldable where possible and will be stored away at night.

An Oxford City spokeswoman added: “This project was delivered very successfully last year in cities such as Birmingham. The tables were very well respected so we do not expect this to be a problem in Oxford.”

The launch event will also screen the film Ping Pong at 2pm in association with Britdoc and the Oxfordshire Community Foundation’s Get Batty initiative.

It tells the story of a group of octogenarians who travel to Inner Mongolia to compete in the over 80s Table Tennis Championships.

Ashley Merry, spokeswoman for Oxfordshire Community Foundation, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that this will be happening – the timing just couldn’t be better. “We have been running the initiative to help combat isolation and loneliness and this will spread awareness.

“We are delighted to be working with the City Council and the Sports Partnership and I really hope this has some impact on the wellbeing of everybody, irrespective of their age.”

Alongside the launch there will be a celebration of Sport Makers. Three-time Olympic diver Pete Waterfield will open the event and shortly before, at 11am, there will be a workshop for those wanting to take up a final chance to be a Sport Maker.

For more information go to the events page of


  • The sport – also known as Flim-Flam, Gossima and Whiff Whaff – began as an English parlour game in the 1890s and was played on a dining room table.
  • The original bat was a book.
  • According to Sport England’s Active People Survey, table tennis is the fastest growing sport for women with participation doubling in the last five years.
  • Table tennis was admitted as a full medal sport at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
  • Current world powers in the game are China, Korea, Japan and Germany. 98,800 people in England now play table tennis once a week


  • Bonn Square
  • Bury Knowle Park
  • Cutteslowe Park
  • Blackbird Leys Park
  • Manzil Way Gardens
  • Oxford Castle
  • Oxford Train Station
  • Templars Square Shopping Centre
  • John Radcliffe Hospital