A FORMER pupil at a specialist school in Abingdon raised thousands for his alma mater by tackling a gruelling 11-hour tennis session.

The Unicorn School said it is "indebted" to 16-year-old Luke Strivens, whose passion for the sport helped him to socialise despite a rare hearing disability.

Luke whooshed his racket through the air on Sunday in a successful bid to beat the match length record set at Wimbledon six years ago, raising more than £7,000 for the dyslexia and dyspraxia specialist school.

The teenager, who lives in central Oxford, said: "I knew it was going to be a tough challenge two days before going back to school.

"I'm happy I've done something for a good cause and just want to say thanks to everyone who turned up and supported me, and to people who donated their own personal money."

Competitive player Luke, who has a hearing problem called auditory processing disorder and struggles with speech and language, has been playing since the age of 10.

He is ranked in the top 15 of under-16s players in the county.

He plays for the men's B team at Nuffield Health in Oxford, where he staged the 11-hour six-minute match starting at 6.45am.

Unicorn School headteacher Andrew Day, who was one of Luke's opponents on the day, said: "He is a credit to his family and to the school.

"It is obvious that the hard work and work ethic he has to put in every day at school is translated to the tennis court where his determination to succeed shone through.

"What also shone through was the smile that Luke had on his face throughout the match. He obviously loves the sport and played in the correct spirit throughout the day.

"We are indebted to Luke and his hard work."

Luke's dad Andrew is a governor at the school, which his son attended for two years, and joined him on the day where he faced a series of singles, doubles and rallies with just a few 10-minute breaks.

The 53-year-old said: "He's absolutely fixated with tennis. Apart from the exercise it's given him a passion and the social side, which has been great. He's done so well.

"People have been very generous, it's overwhelming."

A family friend contacted French professional player Nicolas Mahut, who set the original 11-hour five-minute record, and he sent Luke a pair of signed shorts in recognition of his achievement.

The cash will help the school replenish its pot after it invested £35,000 in an all-weather outdoor area for pupils and £10,000 in a school-wide wifi system, which were both installed over the summer holidays.