Around £38,000 was raised by businesses and organisations to help support the next generation of Wiltshire sports stars at the third Business and Sports Gala Dinner – £5,000 more than last year.
Wiltshire Council and Inspire by Wessex Chambers of Commerce co-hosted the event in the Atrium at County Hall, Trowbridge, following the huge success of the event in 2014 and 2015.
The dinner was held as part of delivering a Legacy for Wiltshire, a council-led partnership which aims to encourage people to keep fit and active, boost the local economy and bring communities together, building on the success of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Money raised from the night will boost the foundation fund, which provides financial help to local, elite athletes. Successful applicants receive funding to assist with training, attending competitions, as well as paying for equipment and transport costs to regional, national and international events.
More than 60 businesses sponsored and supported the dinner to assist the budding Olympians, Paralympians and athletes with world-class potential on their journey to success. The main sponsors of the evening were Aerian, Mipermit, Landmarc and CGI.
The fund was boosted by prizes and one-off experiences bid for in an auction and a raffle held on the evening. This included a Velodrome cycling coaching session, a private tour of Salisbury Cathedral, tea at the House of Lords and tickets to a number of local attractions.
The after dinner speech was provided by Olympic and European Championship medallist sprinter, Roger Black MBE. He spoke inspirationally about his career and life since competing at the highest level.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: “This event has gone from strength to strength and it was a really special evening and I’m thrilled once again with how much money was raised.
“Wiltshire’s sportspeople have already achieved a great deal and we are enormously proud of what they have done so far. However, they need more support to help them continue on their journey to fulfil their potential and achieve the success they deserve. Even the smallest amount of funding can help towards smoothing that journey and we’re very proud to do our bit and I must thank all the local businesses for their fantastic support.
“This is already shaping up to be an amazing Olympic year.”
Rob Perks, chief executive of Inspire by Wessex Chambers of Commerce, said: “We were thrilled to co-host the gala dinner again this year. We have experienced the benefit of forming a partnership with a local athlete and these events are the perfect way to bring businesses together with our local sports community.
“Roger Black talked about passion, determination to reach a goal, overcoming adversity and setbacks and never giving up if an athlete is to achieve ultimate success – all qualities required of successful entrepreneurs.
“We can’t thank the local businesses enough for the support they have provided.”
This year’s grant recipients, each receiving £1,000, were:
Ben Amor – golf
Emily Benham – mountain bike orienteering
Dan Bethall – para badminton
Lauren Booth – para cycling
Hannah Brown – sprint canoe
Edward Himbury – bobsleigh
Peter Kibble – cycling
Philip Marsh – fencing
Stephanie Millward – swimming
Aaron Moores – swimming
James Threlfall – skateboarding
Jonah Wright – boccia