Olympic bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo headlined the Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club at Wherstead Park last Friday (21 September) to help the local business community raise funds for Suffolk’s future sporting stars. Anthony, whose middleweight bronze success came at the London 2012 Olympics, was guest of honour as he reflected on the support he received from SportsAid at the beginning of his career.
“To see so many members of the local business community come together with a shared ambition of helping young, local athletes to succeed is fantastic,” said Anthony – a beneficiary of SportsAid support in 2005 and 2006. “I know first-hand what a difference their support makes and, on behalf of the many, many athletes that SportsAid supports, I’d just like to say a big thank you to them all.”
The Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club was set up in January 2015 to generate funds for SportsAid to support up-and-coming sportsmen and women from across the county. The Club is supported by seven businesses from the Ipswich area - Pound Gates Chartered Insurance Brokers, Ensors Chartered Accountants, Handelsbanken, Ellisons Solicitors, Concertus, StrategiQ and Picasso HR.
Anthony took the opportunity at the event, which is expected to have raised in excess of £10,000, to present a SportsAid grant to rising basketball star Veron Eze, 16, from Ipswich. Veron is a Great Britain international and has recently returned from the European Championships where he helped his country to victories over Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden and Romania.
“I am so grateful to SportsAid for their support,” said Veron – who was also helped by the charity in 2017. “It’s great to be recognised for what I have achieved so far. Ultimately, my ambition is to win a scholarship to play basketball in the United States and then play in the NBA. The funding I’ve received today will really help me with the costs of training and competing at the right level.”
David Collins, from Pound Gates, said: “We don’t want to see young talented athletes from Suffolk dropping out because of lack of funding. You only have to look at what an inspiration a local lad like Anthony is to realise that how important it is to help and support them. It creates a great sense of pride when you have successful sportsmen and women in the local community.”
Andy Smith, from StrategiQ, added: “Anthony had a fascinating story to tell. To hear the highs and lows of his career really puts in to perspective the will, desire and mental strength it takes to be a world class athlete. We hope that through the Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club we can do our bit to help other young people from Suffolk reach the top of their sports.”
The next Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club event takes place on Friday 1 March 2019 at Wherstead Park. The guest speaker will be former England international rugby player Jeff Probyn. Please contact Adam Baker on firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.