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09 Mar 2023

SportsAid welcomes Clare Cunningham and Matthew Pinsent to Board of Trustees

SportsAid is delighted to announce Clare Cunningham and Sir Matthew Pinsent have joined its Board of Trustees. The newly-recruited members have been welcomed to the Board on an initial three-year term following an open recruitment process which started at the beginning of October. Clare and Matthew were officially invited to join the existing trustees following ratification at the charity’s AGM at the end of last month.

Mike Westcott, Chair of SportsAid, said: “I am delighted to welcome both Clare and Matthew to the SportsAid Board. It is an exciting time to be joining the charity and they both bring a huge amount of knowledge and expertise to complement the skillsets of our existing Trustees.” 

Aged just 15, Clare burst onto the international swimming scene as she won five medals at her debut Paralympic Games in Barcelona back in 1992. She also took the World Championships by storm in 1994 before making the decision to retire from swimming following the Atlanta Games in 1996.

In 2009, Clare discovered para triathlon and became world and European champion within her class that same year. She became the first ever female para triathlete to sit on the International Triathlon Union Athletes Committee in 2012 and is now the Head of Athlete Services at ParalympicsGB.

“I am thrilled to be joining the SportsAid Board,” said Clare. “As a grant recipient as a teenage Paralympian in the 1990s, I know first-hand how valued the work of SportsAid is to emerging athletes and their families. I am particularly passionate about athlete welfare and holistic development, which I believe begins from the outset of an athlete’s journey and so my values are aligned with SportsAid and I believe I can positively contribute to the charity’s work.   

“As a retired Paralympian and Head of Athlete Services at the BPA, I can bring a deep understanding of the unique challenges and considerations faced by para athletes and ensure these are taken into account in SportsAid’s work. I also work in safeguarding, welfare and culture, knowledge which I hope will benefit the talented emerging athletes SportsAid supports.”

Matthew is a four-time Olympic gold medallist who won the coxless pairs in 1992 and 1996, alongside Sir Steve Redgrave, and the coxless fours in 2000 and 2004. During his glittering rowing career he also claimed 10 golds at the World Championships and 14 titles at the Henley Royal Regatta.

Matthew retired from competitive rowing after the 2004 season concluded and embarked on a broadcasting career with the BBC which has seen him cover Olympic Games as a presenter and reporter. He continues to act as an umpire and commentator for key events in the rowing calendar.  

Matthew was an elected member of the International Olympic Committee’s Athlete Commission from 2001 to 2004 and previously sat on the British Olympic Association’s Executive Board. 

“I’m delighted to be rejoining the SportsAid team once again as a formal part of the family,” said Matthew. “As a recipient of an award at a crucial part of my own career starting in the 80s, I know all too well just how important that recognition can be and what a difference it can make. 

“It’s a tribute to the SportsAid team just how much the role has matured and expanded over the decades but the mission remains a simple one. The chance to help cohorts of young people in their journey through sport is something that has motivated me since I stepped back from my competitive career and it’s an honour to be given a new opportunity and one that I am really excited about.”

SportsAid also bade farewell to Ian Braid at the AGM and paid tribute to Michelle Moore after both departed the Board. Ian dedicated over 10 years of support to the charity, chairing the National Awards Committee and Backing The Best awards panel, while Michelle served a five-year term.  

Tim Lawler MBE, SportsAid’s Chief Executive, said: "Ian and Michelle have both played a key role for SportsAid over recent years, providing sound counsel as well as bringing great passion in support of the cause. At the same time as thanking them both and saying farewell, we offer a warm welcome to two new trustees in Clare and Matthew.

“Two champions, not only in their own respective sports, but champions for the next generation that follow in their footsteps, joining existing trustee Ama Agbeze in amplifying the athlete voice around the Board table and bringing a diversity of lived experiences from their journeys in sport. It is an exciting time for SportsAid.”

Here’s the existing Board of Trustees which Clare and Matthew will be joining….

Ama Agbeze MBE
Trustee (appointed in 2020)

Ama is a former captain of the England Netball team who led her country to a gold medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. She has been capped 100 times for the Roses and most recently played for the Northern Mystics. She is also a qualified lawyer and was a member of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.

Heather Charrington Clark
Trustee (appointed in 2020)

Heather is the Director of Audiences at the Southbank Centre. She previously held positions at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, the Natural History Museum, the National Theatre and the English National Ballet. She has worked as a consultant for the Talawa Theatre Company among others.

Mike Westcott
Trustee (appointed Chair in 2019)

Mike was formerly Chief People Officer and Head of Commercial Property at National Grid. Prior to joining National Grid, Mike worked for Diageo plc in a number of senior HR roles in the UK and United States. He currently sits on the Board of the charity Centrepoint and holds a number of non-executive roles within the commercial sector.

Penny Brough
Trustee (appointed in 2020)

Penny is the Chief Marketing Officer of UKTV, part of BBC studios, and leads the Marcomms division for its seven channel brands – Dave, Gold, Drama, W, Alibi, Eden and Yesterday – as well as its streaming service UKTV Play. She was previously SVP, CMO for ViacomCBS UK (now Paramount) and was formerly Head of Consumer Communications at Vodafone UK.

Richard Glasson
Trustee (appointed in 2017)

Richard is CEO of Hogarth Worldwide - the world's leading marketing implementation company. Prior to this, he was CEO of Gyro, a business-to-business marketing agency. Richard is also Chair of Governors of Ernest Bevin College in south London, which is a specialist in sports, maths and computing, rated as outstanding by Ofsted. 

Ronnie Denholm
Trustee (appointed in 2017)

Ronnie has extensive experience in the commercial sector of leading blue chip companies, such as Barclays and American Express, in financial services. He is now focused on non-commercial activities and manages volunteering activities at Brighton and Hove City Athletics Club. He was previously a British taekwondo champion. 

SportsAid recognises that certain sections of the community have been affected by structural inequities and may be denied the opportunity to participate equally and fully in sport at all levels. SportsAid as an organisation believes our role is to remove the barriers that our most under-served, at risk and minoritised groups of young people experience when trying to access sport and physical activities.

The charity therefore positively welcomes, and seeks to achieve, diversity in our workforce and that all job applicants, volunteers and employees receive equal and fair treatment.  We positively encourage applications from all candidates regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, marriage and civil partnership status, gender identity, background, religion, faith, sexual orientation, maternity status, pregnancy, belief or nationality.