The inspiring stories of Britain’s most talented young athletes continues to fuel enthusiasm for SportsAid Week as support for the 2019 edition once again reaffirmed the initiative’s position as a stand-out fixture in the country’s annual sporting calendar. Fundraising has now surpassed £175,000 since SportsAid Week first took place following the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016.
SportsAid Week 2020 will be particularly exciting as the charity celebrates the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics while shining a spotlight on the next generation of British sporting heroes targeting Beijing 2022, Birmingham 2022 and Paris 2024. Next year’s dates have been confirmed for 21-27 September and will see the #MyMiles Challenge continue to grow after breaking even more records!
The Challenge saw a total of 51,001 miles accumulated this year as the charity linked up with Race Nation to provide an online platform for supporters to commit to one of three distances – Choose your own #MyMiles target, a #MyMiles Marathon or #MyMiles x40. Race Nation, via Sports Giving, also presented the opportunity for participants to set up fundraising pages with over £3,000 generated.
FUN AND FUNDRAISING
SportsAid’s commercial partners stepped up once again as they gave their backing throughout the week with hordes of Olympians, Paralympians, schools, currently supported athletes, parents and individual fundraisers all playing a key role in another successful campaign. The money raised over the course of SportsAid Week helps the charity to support the country’s rising stars with financial awards, recognition and personal development opportunities as they look to pursue their ambitions.
The Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health (ISEH) helped kick off SportsAid Week by hosting ‘A Champion’s Breakfast’ to provide guests with a real insight into high-performance sport and the physical commitment required to be a world-class athlete. SportsAid Week ambassador Susannah Gill, the current World Marathon Challenge women's champion, undertook a CPET test, overseen by Professor Mike Loosemore MBE, before they talked about their own experiences in a Q&A panel.
Nelsons, one of the world's leading manufacturers of natural healthcare products, launched a five-year partnership with SportsAid back in March. The staff, both at home and internationally, committed to a range of activities throughout SportsAid Week which kicked off with a team of 12 taking on the Tough Mudder London South course. They followed this up with a 50,000 step challenge, a sugar-free bake sale, a raffle and a fancy dress day where they came to work as their favourite Olympians.
The Sussex Innovation Centre showed its support by hosting a SportsAid Week quiz and a walk and talk session in Stanmer Park. Members of the Centre also competed against each by signing up to the #MyMiles Challenge. They concluded the week with a lunchtime celebration, which included a Q&A with England Under-18s football star Maya Le Tissier, while Sussex Innovation Croydon heard from para athlete Souleyman Bah and enjoyed a boxing demonstration with Sameenah Toussaint.
Orange Business Services marked the opening of its new offices at the Porter Building in Slough by welcoming Commonwealth Games gold medallist Reuben Arthur and Team England T38 long jumper Molly Kingsbury for a special SportsAid Week Q&A focusing on their achievements and their future ambitions. The Building also installed exercise bikes in the reception area to allow other companies, alongside Orange Business Services, to make their own contributions to the #MyMiles Challenge.
GVC Holdings has embarked on a three-year partnership with SportsAid and staff at One Stratford Place and Here East met Olympic champion Shona McCallin and Paralympic silver medallist Toby Gold, as well as a group of the country’s most exciting young athletes. Rugby player Harvey Beaton, rifle shooter Ruth Mwandumba, fencer Dominic De Almedia and pole vaulter Emmanuel Thomas are all supported by GVC and visited the offices to share stories about their sporting journeys.
Stoke Park were another contributor to the #MyMiles Challenge as they also placed exercises bikes in reception and held their annual tennis-a-thon with Olympic champion Denise Lewis, former WBA heavyweight title holder David Haye and BBC presenter Chris Hollins. The World of Squash continued to dedicate its annual Golf Day at Woodcote Park to SportsAid as golf prodigy Rafiah Banday, 16, joined professional squash players on the course as they raised money for the charity.
The Midtown Business Club welcomed guests to a Rugby 2019 World Cup panel discussion, led by Ireland legend Rob Henderson and former Wales internationals Rob Jones MBE and Adrian Davies, in support of SportsAid Week. Castle Trust staff took on the #MyMiles Challenge in teams and hosted a prize giving with table tennis prospect Anaya Patel, 15, and boxer Royston Barney-Smith, 15, joining them. Hogarth hosted the SportsAid Week Sports Quiz alongside various fundraising activities.
Rayner Essex encouraged staff to dress up as their sporting heroes while Shakespeare Martineau and Neat Nutrition also engaged in SportsAid Week activity. UK Sport and Sport England staff supported raffles and bake sales at their Bloomsbury Street offices. SportsAid also ran a Grand Prize Draw for the second year in a row and raised over £2,300 with supporters given an opportunity to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences, in-demand tickets, sporting memorabilia and top of the range kit.
ATHLETES AND FAMILIES
SportsAid athletes and their families came together to raise money for the charity and help future beneficiaries by hosting fundraising events, encouraging activity from local schools and participating in the #MyMiles Challenge. Snowsport siblings Justin, 19, and Ella Taylor-Tipton, 15, continued to lead the way as they put on their Charity Jam for the fourth year in a row by bringing together skiers and snowboarder of all abilities to pull off tricks, and win prizes, at the Kidsgrove Ski Centre.
Isabelle Tucker, 15, ran a series of volleyball tournaments at Wycombe High School and South Bucks Volleyball Club, skier David Gornall, 14, completed 52 runs (5 miles) at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead over three hours, triple jumper Jade Oni, 18, held a fitness testing event at North Kent College, and triathlete Dom Coy, 17, cycled a virtual UCI course of 165km in six hours at Ilkley Grammar School. Scott Wilkinson, 17, hosted a sailing event at Rye Harbour Sailing Club, and triathlete Cameron Reilly, 18, put on a timed mile run at Ilkley Harrier Athletics Club.
Ellen Wilkinson, 17, visited Bradwell Infants, where she attended primary school, after they signed up to the #MyMiles Challenge and pupils completed a mile on their bikes in the playground. Ellen came in to meet the pupils and showed them her fencing equipment and Commonwealth medals. Ellen’s mum Gillian also hosted a coffee morning. Squash star AbdAllah Eissa, 13, took on the #MyMiles Challenge with six classmates at Kenilworth School and Sixth Form. They ran for two and a half hours, collectively covering 71.8 miles, as they were sponsored for their efforts.
Giovanna Lalli, mum of tennis player Giulia Lesa, 13, signed up to #MyMiles x40 and managed to raise £1,000 as she covered 40.8 miles during SportsAid Week. Basketball hotshot Simeon Perry, 16, cheered on his mum Liz as she undertook a sponsored swim. Liz, who suffers from osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, targeted 100 lengths over five days but managed to reach 132! Boxer Alex Brown, 16, joined her auntie Tracey on a 10 mile sponsored run around Ashington and raised over £300.
Snowboarder Mia Brookes, 12, donated prizes she won at competitions last winter to run a raffle, as well as a bake sale, at Graystone Actions Sports Academy. Gymnast Evie Hancox, 15, and volleyball player Carla Hulme, 16, also held bake sales at Ossett Academy and at home respectively. Para-swimmer George Kelman-Johns, 18, ran a car wash and bake sale, taekwondo talent Jamie McIntosh, 14, collected donations and Rose Gladdish, mum of fencer Laura, 21, put on a book sale.
The RBC Ride for the Kids helped to kick-start this year’s #MyMiles Challenge as 59 riders of mixed abilities completed a two-day, 200+ mile cycle from London to Brussels. The team set off from RBC’s Riverbank House offices in London before making their way through Essex, with pit stops in Brentwood and Danbury, as they completed the 88 mile journey to Harwich to catch a ferry to the Hook of Holland. The riders clocked up the remaining 117 miles to Brussels the following day.
RBC also entered a team into the Tough Mudder London South course which saw them take their overall contribution to the #MyMiles Challenge to 12,175 miles. Get Living, an award-winning residential owner, committed to hitting 3,000 miles - one for every home they rent out - throughout the course of September. Mindful Chef’s staff smashed a lunchtime circuit at SW18 Crossfit as they collectively managed to cover 41.8 miles in just an hour’s session in Wandsworth.
Tim Lawler, SportsAid’s Chief Executive, and Ian Braid, founder and Managing Director of DOCIAsport, cycled from Sussex Innovation Croydon to the Sussex Innovation Centre in Falmer. The Live Wyres Netball team held a walking netball competition over two days at the Thornton YMCA while Darren Neville brought together over 50 members at Kyushindo Karate in Oxford to enjoy sessions on kata, sparring, weapons and self-defence during a special karate and judo seminar.
Visa employee Sophie Begg joined colleagues from across Europe on the Game Changer Charity Bike Ride from Brussels to Frankfurt. They each covered 292 miles and Sophie chose to dedicate her total to the #MyMiles Challenge while fundraising for SportsAid. Andrew Greaves, Head of Journalism at News Associates, used the inspiration of talented young athletes to take on #MyMiles x40 as he jumped in the saddle for the first time in two decades and completed his miles on the bike.
Table Tennis England made a huge commitment to reach a grand total of 5,921 miles, the distance from their head office in Milton Keynes to Tokyo, with 30 employees taking part over a 30-day period. The idea was driven by Paul Stimpson, Table Tennis England’s Senior Communications Officer, and they finished up on 6,139 miles following a month of cycling, swimming and running. They also arranged team walks, badminton matches, paddleboarding and, as you’d expect, table tennis!
The Football Association (FA) also demonstrated incredible support as they set a target of 1,416 miles – the journey from St George’s Park to UEFA HQ in Switzerland, and back. Sarah Lawler-Edwards, The FA’s Senior Talent Technical Coach (South West) and England Women’s Under-16s assistant coach, led the initiative. She managed to get buy-in from regional and national head coaches, the Talent ID department and team operation managers as they hit the 1,800 miles mark.
Daniel Thompson, British Canoeing’s Talent Programme Administration Officer, completed a #MyMiles Marathon. Currently supported SportsAid athletes Adele Williamson and Charlie Meadows chose to offer an insight into the lives of talented young athletes on Instagram through the #MyMiles Challenge in September. Taekwondo athlete Adele, 15, measured a total distance of 164 miles while wrestler Charlie, 14, posted his progress every single day with Bolton Olympic Wrestling Club.
Surbiton High School, as well as the Boys’ and Girls’ Preps, made another stand-out effort for the #MyMiles Schools Challenge as the staff and pupils worked together to complete the 5,936 mile journey from Surrey to Tokyo through a wide range of activities including circuit classes and cycling and rowing events. Middlesbrough College promoted healthy and active lifestyles through the #MyMiles Challenge with sporting drop-ins, health checks, yoga sessions and self-defence classes.
Webber Independent School in Milton Keynes and Sprowston Community Academy in Norwich encouraged children to run a mile in every PE class during SportsAid Week. Netballer Molly Hole, 16, arranged for her school, South Wiltshire Grammar School, to hold a tutor group competition called ‘Max the Miles’ during their lunch break. Clapton Girls’ Academy also put their own spin on the #MyMiles Challenge while holding daily quizzes and a bake sale to raise money for SportsAid.
THEY SAID IT
“We actually hit 1,800 miles together in September which was great as we beat our target of 1,4000. Staff covered the miles at all sorts of times – when home from a late night club visit, first thing in the morning or using it as good motivation to get moving at lunch and away from the desk to refresh. Everyone was responsible for their own miles. We had spot prizes for hitting certain landmark miles along the way which was good for morale. It was never about who is doing the most but doing it together. I think doing the #MyMiles Challenge has started up really good habits over the last month.”
SARAH LAWLER-EDWARDS, THE FA
“My intention and challenge was to complete 100 lengths over five days. Because of my osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, and the impact it has on my overall physical mobility and pain management, I chose this challenge because I cope better in water than physically on dry land. I am pleased to announce that I did in fact swim 132 lengths! This was a great achievement for me and has since inspired other mature people to take up the sport of swimming. I do hope it will help towards assisting a young athlete to strive towards their chosen sporting passion.”
LIZ PERRY, MOTHER OF SPORTSAID ATHLETE SIMEON
“We like to support SportsAid as a number of our athletes have been helped by the charity over the years. Usually, this entails getting involved in social media campaigns and inclusion in our newsletters to raise awareness and encourage people to get involved. This year, we thought it would be nice to do the #MyMiles Challenge and, with the Olympics coming up next year, someone (me, sorry!) had the bright idea of covering the equivalent miles from Milton Keynes to Tokyo. We realised that was quite a daunting task - but we were sure our colleagues would rise to the challenge!”
PAUL STIMPSON, TABLE TENNIS ENGLAND
“What an amazing time our SportsAid Week fundraiser turned into. We raised £320 for the charity that supports the next generation of sportspeople. Who better to raise funds for them than older people - many of whom are ex-professionals themselves? We had a visiting team from Mellor, Blackburn and a representative from Netball England to also support us. We, the Live Wyres, are more than just a team that gets together two or three times a week. We are a family and the support and generosity from them left me very humbled and thankful to be part of the team.”
TONI MORRIS, LIVE WYRES WALKING NETBALL TEAM (THORNTON YMCA)
A huge thank you to everybody that showed their support for SportsAid Week and all of the commercial partners, organisations, educational establishments, alumni and athletes for their continued backing….
Ama Agbeze MBE
Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE DL
Bradwell Infant School
Brentley Wood High School
Chelsea FC Foundation
Clapton Girls’ Academy
Hope Valley College
Kenilworth School and Sixth Form
Midtown Business Club
Orange Business Services
Royal Bank of Canada
South Wiltshire Grammar School
Sprowston Community Academy
St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School
Surbiton High School
Surbiton High Boys’ Preparatory School
Surbiton High Girls’ Preparatory School
Surrey Legs of Steel
Sussex Innovation Centre
The Football Association
The Porter Building
The Royal Grammar School Worcester
The Snow Centre
University of Bath
Webber Independent School