Event to support budding sports stars hears from our own local World Champion

Written by Peter Davison on .


World champion bobsledder Shelley Rudman (centre) with Sports Forum secretary Caroline Baynes and chairman Andrew RossWorld champion bobsledder Shelley Rudman (centre) with Sports Forum secretary Caroline Baynes and chairman Andrew RossWorld champion bobsledder Shelley Rudman was the guest of honour at the annual Marlborough Sports Forum fundraising dinner last night (Thursday).

The 33-year-old, who shot to fame after winning a silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, was on hand to offer words of inspiration to Marlborough’s young sports stars of tomorrow, and to the adult coaches and facilitators who help them.

Shelley, who is originally from Pewsey and still has family – along with a legion of fans – in the Marlborough area, won gold at the World Championships last year.

But, as she told guests at the fundraising event, it is a title she will be unable to defend as she now has trouble lying flat on her belly.

She is expecting a second child – a brother or sister to seven-year-old Ella – with finance and fellow skeleton bobsleigh competitor Kristan Bromley.

Shelley was joined on the roster of famous guests by racing broadcaster Luke Harvey, a familiar face to viewers of At The Races.

Sports Forum chairman Andrew Ross reminded guests at the £35-a-head dinner, held at Marlborough Town Hall, that more than £200 had been awarded to individuals and sports clubs in 2014.

Grants to youngsters, he said, were vital to help pay for expensive kit, international travel, and even getting to training sessions.

Among the recipients were county tennis player George Wardley (14), who received £150, sailor Annabel Hitchmough (13) who was awarded £200, county rugby player Oli Rawlings (16) who was given £150, and national competitive ice-skater Alicia Boyer (10) who was awarded £250.

Will Colling (14), who plays basketball at regional level, was awarded £200, Wiltshire cricket and hockey player Rhys Davies (14) received £150, Will Radnedge (15), who plays hockey at a regional level, was awarded £200, and grants of £200 each went to Kieren Short (14) and Callum Short (16), who both compete in athletics and cross country at a regional level.

George Costard (16), who plays rugby at regional level, received £200, Zac Tunmore (10), captain of Wiltshire County Cricket’s Under 10s squad, was given £150, 12-year-old Alan Renwick, who represents Wiltshire at tennis and hockey, was given £150, while Freya Renwick (16), who competes in eventing at a national level, received £200.

There were also grants of £500 to support Marlborough Tennis Club’s junior festival, and £500 for new equipment for one of Marlborough’s newest sports facilities - the boxing club.

The annual dinner is the Forum’s main fundraising event, and to swell the coffers further a charity auction was held. Lots included a round of golf for four people at Marlborough Golf Club, a pair of tickets to this weekend’s QBE International at Twickenham, where England will take on Australia, and two badges to the Hennessey Gold Cup at Newbury.

The auction also included a 150th anniversary FA shirt and two 150th anniversary FA pendants signed by former England football star and current Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce, who has family ties to the town.