Wiltshire Business and Sports Gala Dinner helps local sports stars go from grassroots to greatness

By Anita Jaynes on 28 March, 2022

A total of £45,547 was raised at Wiltshire Council’s eighth Wiltshire Business and Sports Gala Dinner, as local businesses and organisations generously helped to support the county’s finest sporting talent.

Wiltshire Council was once again able to host the night of entertainment and fundraising at County Hall in Trowbridge on Thursday 24th March, after an enforced break in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event was held to raise money for local aspiring Olympians and Paralympians through the Funding Future Olympians and Paralympians Foundation, which provides financial grants to local elite athletes. Successful applicants receive funding to assist with training and attending competitions, as well as paying for equipment and transport costs to regional, national and international events.

The theme for this year was ‘From grassroots to greatness’, celebrating the inspirational journeys of homegrown Wiltshire stars, from local beginnings to the world stage.

The event was made possible due to many businesses sponsoring and supporting the dinner including gold sponsors CGI, Landmarc and MiPermit.

The fund was boosted by a live auction of one-off experiences as well as a silent auction. Guest speaker Nigel Owens MBE, world-renowned rugby referee, also offered inspirational words and anecdotes with an insight into the spectacle of international rugby.

This year’s grant recipients, each receiving £1,000, were:

  • Kate French MBE, modern pentathlon
  • Tom Gale, athletics: high jump
  • Dan Bethell, para badminton 
  • Lloyd Wallace, aerial freestyle skiing 
  • Emily Rowlands, hockey 
  • Thomas Holmes, athletics: javelin 
  • Daniel Reynaldo, para cricket 
  • Jessica Daykin, gymnastics
  • Lucy-Jane Matthews, athletics: hurdles
  • Fenella Langridge, triathlon

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said, “I was delighted to host my first gala dinner as Leader of the council. We feel proud to host this unique event once again after such a challenging two years – but it is only made possible by the support we have received from the business community.

“The awarding of grants through the foundation is only possible due to the generous financial support from our sponsors, businesses and everyone attending the event, supporting and inspiring our local athletes to reach for the highest accolades in their chosen sport.

“Thank you for another successful event and raising such an impressive amount.”

Other event sponsors were Learn by Design, Cumberwell Park, Knorr-Bremse, SNC Lavalin Atkins, MJ Church, FCC, XN Leisure, Purely Nutrition and Ringway Infrastructure Services Ltd.

So far, 51 elite athletes and 46 young sports stars have benefitted from the Funding Future Olympians and Paralympians Foundation.