16 May 2011
Grant boost for local young athletes at Bucks SportsAid lunch
Two young athletes aiming for future Olympic glory have been given a £500 grant each at the first Bucks Sporting Lunch Club.
Twelve-year-old freestyle snowboarder Becky Menday, from Waddesdon, near Aylesbury, and rower Lewis Sloan, 18, from Windsor, were presented with their cheques by British swimming star Karen Pickering MBE.
The money, which comes from the Bucks SportsAid Foundation, is designed to help young sports stars of the future with training, equipment and travelling expenses.
The sporting lunch club was organised by a core team of business sponsors from across Buckinghamshire, including Gerrards Cross-based solicitors B P Collins, whose senior partner David Stanning, welcomed an audience of around 130 people.
"While many of us here today may not be in a position to compete, as sponsors we can play a role by investing in future success stories, such as those of our two young athletes here today," he said.
"We must congratulate Lewis and Becky on their achievements so far and we wish them all the very best in their forthcoming sporting endeavours. We're sure that they will make us, and the wider community, very proud of their achievements in years to come."
Also supporting the project are chartered accountants Harwood Hutton and independent financial advisers Austyn James Wealth Management, both from Beaconsfield; NatWest Commercial Banking in High Wycombe and local business group Buckinghamshire Business First.
For Becky, who juggles snowboard training at the Milton Keynes Sno!Zone with her studies at Waddesdon Church of England Secondary School, the Bucks SportsAid grant will enable her to take part in several major competitions on both indoor dry slopes and outdoors this winter.
"The money will be a big help with things like petrol, hotels and lift passes so I can enter competitions including the European Open in Switzerland," she said. "I really want to get my world ranking up from 55th to the 30s within the next year or two and then I'm aiming for the Winter Olympics in 2014 or 2018."
Although she only started snowboarding four years ago, Becky is already a member of the GB Junior Freestyle Team and has chalked up an impressive list of results, including several first places on the British Snow Tour Artificial and the British Championships under 16, while in European competitions she regularly achieves podium positions and gold medals in her age category.
For 18-year-old Lewis, the grant is an opportunity to buy his very own much-needed set of blades for singles racing. Currently a pupil at Windsor Boys School, he uses the school's rowing club equipment, but when he leaves this summer he hopes to join the prestigious Leander Rowing Club in Henley.
"Having my own blades will be brilliant and really help with my training," he said. "The cost of travelling and expenses for all the trials is expensive, so the grant is much appreciated."
Training six days a week, next month (June) sees Lewis taking part in the final trials for the Junior World Rowing Championships. He is already a member of the under 18s Great Britain junior rowing team and his next goal is to be selected for the under 23s and then step up to the senior team, with high hopes of aiming for success in the lightweight classes in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero.
The sporting club lunch, which was held at Dorney Lake, near Windsor, the venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games rowing and kayaking events, also gave Roger Fennemore from Bucks SportsAid, the chance to talk about the support the organisation provides to young athletes.
The lunch raised around £4,500 for Bucks SportsAid.