Olympic cyclist Jess Varnish will headline the opening event of this year’s Bury St Edmunds Festival of Sport.
Varnish, who was one of GB’s leading track cyclists between 2012 and 2017 and famously partnered Victoria Pendleton in the Team Sprint, will be the star guest at a sporting lunch at The Athenaeum on Friday 18 October.
The lunch, which has become the traditional curtain raiser to the Festival of Sport, will once again raise funds to support up and coming young sportsmen and women from the county.
To mark the announcement, representatives of the lunch sponsors, Abbeycroft Leisure, Greene and Greene Solicitors and Lovewell Blake, recently gathered at The Athenaeum to present grants from money raised at last year’s event to two super talented sports people from Bury St Edmunds.
Tennis player Gabia Paskaukas and squash player Emma Bartley both received cheques for £1,000 to help with the cost of competing at national and international level.
A delighted Gabia said "I am so happy to learn that my hard work was recognised by SportsAid (the charity behind the lunches). The award will help me with my training so much, also giving me an additional drive to improve".
An equally pleased Emma said “It’s an honour to receive the SportsAid award and to know that people believe in me and the potential I have in my sport. I would like to use the money to work even harder this year to achieve more”.
Since being presented with awards both girls have continued to progress and achieve some fantastic results. Emma was instrumental in Team England’s gold medal in the recent European Team Championships in Eindhoven whilst Gabia has won two Tennis Europe events in Nottingham and Vilnius, Lithuania.
Brian Floringer from Lovewell Blake said “we are delighted to once again sponsor the Bury St Edmunds SportsAid lunch club. It is not only an enjoyable and engaging event it raises money for a brilliant cause.”
Tim Mendes da Costa from Greene and Greene added “meeting Gabia and Emma really brought home the huge sacrifices that local up and coming athletes are making to achieve their dreams and succeed at the very highest levels. Who would have thought that just through having lunch and listening to a genuinely world class athlete speak we can raise money to support our very own stars of the future.”
Warren Smyth from Abbeycroft Leisure said “I’d thoroughly recommend SportsAid lunches to the local business community. It’s a great way of networking and entertaining clients whilst also raising much needed finance for talented up and coming sportsmen and women from the area.”
Tickets for the event are priced at £40 per person or £280 for a table of 8 people. Further details and a booking form are available from SportsAid trustee Adam Baker
( tel. 07894 598296).You can see the flyer here.