Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is supporting 50 of the most talented young British athletes through SportsAid for the eighth consecutive year. RBC, one of the largest banks in the world and a partner of the charity since 2014, provides the next generation of sports stars with financial assistance, recognition and personal development opportunities to help them fulfil their potential.
The athletes being supported by RBC in 2021 stretch across 32 sporting disciplines. They are among the country’s brightest prospects having been nominated to SportsAid by their sport’s national governing body. The long-standing partnership between RBC and SportsAid sees athletes receive an annual award of £1,000 to contribute towards costs such as travel, accommodation and equipment.
One of the most integral aspects of the partnership is the buddy scheme where award recipients are paired with RBC employees. They become an impartial point of contact who follow the progress of the athletes - supporting them and passing on news of their achievements - while imparting important life-skills for the young sports stars to help them in their athletic careers and beyond.
Dave Thomas, CEO, RBC Europe, said: “Royal Bank of Canada is delighted to continue our work with SportsAid. During our eight-year partnership we have had the privilege of watching many Team RBC athletes go on to reach great heights in their sport. We look forward to supporting another 50 young athletes this year, giving them a helping-hand as they strive to be their very personal best.
“I am proud of the efforts of so many of my RBC colleagues to raise funds for aspiring athletes and support them through our innovative ‘buddy’ programme. This year, SportsAid and our athletes need our support more than ever as they continue to face additional challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The commitment, resilience and adaptability these young athletes have shown during unsettling times is commendable and we’ll continue to be here for them every step of the way.”
RBC staff are excellent fundraisers and have generated over £350,000 through the activities they’ve undertaken for SportsAid. Since the partnership began, they have regularly participated in challenge events and represented the charity in large numbers at the Virgin Money London Marathon, Prudential RideLondon, Tough Mudder and the Royal Parks Half, presented by RBC.
SportsAid has also been the chosen charity for RBC Ride for the Kids in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The first ride saw a team of 47 complete a two-day cycle of 184 miles from London to Bruges. The following year ran with a team of 57, including 40 employees new to the event, taking on the 205 mile journey to Brussels. The 2020 edition adopted a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team at RBC had swiftly organised a one-day UK ride to start and finish at Bisham Abbey, with an eye-catching route through the beautiful Chilterns, as restrictions started to ease. Unfortunately, due to Government announcements at the time, these plans had to be rethought and a decision was made to go virtual with cyclists able to develop their own routes locally and meet up in groups
The team of 74 cyclists, all of mixed abilities, had the choice of completing one of three distances - 57 miles, 77 miles or 100 miles - on a day of their choice between 25 and 27 September. The Ride was initially set to take place from London to Lille in June last summer but was inevitably abandoned due to the pandemic. Over 25,000 miles have been covered collectively across the three Rides.
RBC Ride for the Kids has raised more than £200,000 to help SportsAid run workshops for athletes and parents with advice on performance lifestyle management, telling your story through the media and nutrition, in addition to mentoring from leading Olympians and Paralympians. During the pandemic, SportsAid has developed a special online programme thanks to the funds from the Ride.
Tim Lawler, SportsAid’s Chief Executive, said: “These are uniquely challenging times for everyone and RBC have been there for SportsAid throughout. From being the first of our partners to confirm awards to athletes during 2020 to fundraising through the one-off 2.6 Challenge, their commitment during the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic has been hugely appreciated.
“A stand-out moment is how everyone adapted to ensure the Ride for the Kids happened as a remote, virtual sportive which still managed to feel like a shared experience with an incredible fundraising total. These funds have directly enabled SportsAid to not only move its athlete-parent workshop programme online, being available to more people wherever they were isolating, but also to develop the workshop curriculum to include new provision for mental wellbeing support, restful sleep advice and other topics.
“So, it’s a huge thank you from the SportsAid family to the fundraisers, athlete buddies, riders and wider team of colleagues at RBC for their unfailing loyalty and continued support over the years. We couldn’t be more grateful and proud of our association than we are now. Here’s to the Class of 2021 and their return to play and competition.”
RBC has enjoyed a number of success stories since the partnership began in 2014. Most notably, double Paralympic champion Georgie Hermitage was among the earliest recipients of support from the bank. Recent beneficiaries include sprinter Reuben Arthur, who won gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and England international footballer Lauren Hemp.
Here is the list of RBC’s athlete intake for 2021....
Ashanti Akpan, 15, Cobham (Football)
Myles Alcindor, 16, Catford (Basketball)
Fabienne Andre, 24, Brighton (Para Athletics)
Asha Andrews, 18, Lancing (Basketball)
Joseph Armstrong, 14, Reigate (Short-Track Speed Skating)
Tom Atkinson, 17, Jersey (Triathlon)
Abigail Avery, 17, Teddington (Canoeing)
Coco Barrett, 18, West Molesey (Sailing)
Jemimah Berkeley, 17, Robertsbridge (Swimming)
Jack Bigham, 17, St Albans (Golf)
Joanna Blythe-Shields, 18, Potters Bar (Canoeing)
Roan Brennan, 14, Hornchurch (Para Swimming)
Tilly Brown, 15, Cranleigh (Diving)
Jaiden Caldeira, 16, New Southgate (Para Table Tennis)
Alastair Chalmers, 21, Guernsey (Athletics)
Amy Clayton, 16, Crowthorne (Skiing)
Samuel Culverwell, 20, Guernsey (Cycling)
Charlie Dean, 20, Horndean (Cricket)
Francesco Dembinski, 17, Battersea (Rowing)
Joshua Douglas, 19, Chandlers Ford (Athletics)
Prince Dubois, 16, Chelsea (Boxing)
William Ellington, 17, Alton (Swimming)
Jacob Finnigan, 18, Colchester (Weightlifting)
Lauren Fisher, 20, Storrington (Rugby Union)
Lewis Fryer, 16, Tring (Judo)
Ellie Harding, 18, Fareham (Netball)
Holly Heffron, 18, Chichester (Boxing)
Gabrielle Holland, 13, East Grinstead (Modern Pentathlon)
Emily Hutt, 15, Ashford - Surrey (Cycling)
Katie Keefe, 18, Mortlake (Volleyball)
Harry Langley, 25, Bromley (Wheelchair Rugby)
Max Law, 18, Upminster (Athletics)
Toby Makoyawo, 18, South Ruislip (Athletics)
Calum Moir, 16, Woodford Green (Cycling)
Lois Moseley, 16, Bicester (Gymnastics)
Mia Pachansky, 16, Bromley (Taekwondo)
Anaya Patel, 17, Basingstoke (Table Tennis)
Jack Peters, 18, Croydon (Goalball)
Amelia Quirk, 21, Sunninghill (Athletics)
David Ross, 26, Bow (Wheelchair Rugby)
Efe Shimwell, 16, Tunbridge Wells (Disability Football)
Sophie Smith, 16, Northall (Snowboarding)
Lanre Sowami, 23, Chatham (Wheelchair Basketball)
Kuba Staite, 15, Hayling Island (Sailing)
Zac Tarver, 17, Walton-on-Thames (Canoeing)
Sameenah Toussaint, 18, Harrow (Boxing)
Serena Vincent, 19, Southampton (Athletics)
Charlotte Wardlaw, 18, Carshalton (Football)
Sebastian Williams, 16, Borehamwood (Para Swimming)
Charlotte Woad, 17, Farnham (Golf)
*Those athletes highlighted in italics were also supported by RBC in 2020
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