Marlow Rowing Club’s Ben Simon, 17, from Princes Risborough in Buckinghamshire, has been awarded £1,000 by SportsAid’s Bucks Sporting Lunch Club. Created in 2011, the club is a way for local individuals, businesses and trusts - who want to support young, talented athletes in Buckinghamshire - to raise money to help with training, travel or equipment costs.
Ben will use his donation towards upgrading his equipment and travelling to the many international rowing competitions he competes in every year. His commitment to the sport impressed SportsAid trustees particularly with his training regime beginning at 4.30am every morning and devoting both Saturday and Sunday mornings to the sport.
Ben’s ultimate aim is to compete in the Olympics and cites James Cracknell as his sporting hero because 'he won two Olympic medals and has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean'. Ben also said he ‘would like to follow in his footsteps.’ He doesn’t forget his mum who is his greatest influence ‘because she takes me everywhere and is at every competition.’
Ben was unable to attend the latest lunch, which took place on Friday (21 October), as he is currently in the United States competing in the Head of the Charles Regatta. But he took the opportunity to leave a message for guests saying: “I just want to say a massive thank you to SportsAid and the Bucks Sporting Lunch Club.
"The money that I received allowed me to go to the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Poland this summer, where I won two gold medals in the quad for Team GB’s rowing team. Thanks again for all the support and I hope to fulfil my dream of being at the Olympics someday.”
Steve Perry, B P Collins, a trustee of Bucks Sporting Lunch Club, said: “Ben’s commitment to sport and his motivation is an inspiration to us all. He never gives up, even in the early hours of the morning when he has to train. We’re delighted that Bucks Sporting Lunch Club’s donation will help with his expenses and enable him to represent Team GB in international competitions.”
Headline speaker at the Lunch Club was Adrian Moorhouse, who won a gold medal in the 100m breaststroke at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Adrian is a former recipient of SportsAid support, receiving the millionth pound distributed by the charity, so fully understands the importance of the grants and the impact they can make in enabling young talent to compete on the international stage.