Olympians Gala Dinner and Auction
A star-studded fundraising event on Saturday 25th October 2014 saw Staines Boat Club pull together over £26k towards their new Boat House Project. The iconic venue of the London 2012 Olympic Rowing, Dorney Lake, was flooded with over 200 guests including GB Olympians Ben Hunt-Davis, Guin Batten, Naomi Riches, Andrew Triggs-Hodge, George Nash, Will Satch and Adam Freeman-Pask.
The guests ditched their lycra for black tie and enjoyed a delicious meal with plenty of drinking and dancing whilst money was generated from ticket sales, raffle and auction. The event had the backing of the community with many of the prizes being donated by local businesses plus a few of the top auction lots generously donated by the Olympians themselves! To add to the excitement guests had the honour of sitting in Bradley Wiggins’ throne for photos and listening to Gold Medallist Ben Hunt-Davis deliver an inspiring after-dinner speech.
Ben Hunt-Davis highlighted the importance of supporting clubs like Staines BC, as that is where new generations will develop the early skills and passion they need to become future GB athletes.
It is hardly surprising the members are determined to raise the funds, as the current facilities leave much to be desired. The original boat house burnt down in 1950, only to be replaced by a temporary structure, which is still being used today. This building now has major structural failings and is completely inadequate to support a thriving rowing community.
The plans for the new building have been drawn up and planning permission has been granted. This event is one big step on the way to raise funds in order to replace the O.A.B (Old Aged Boathouse) currently standing!
This will ultimately provide the community with a base for locals of all ages and abilities to get involved with this exciting sport, building on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will provide first class facilities to present & future generations of rowers, as well as becoming a much loved landmark on this stretch of the River Thames.
With £1m as the target, it is clear they have some work to do to ‘float their boat’, but, as Dudley Fletcher from SBC said ‘Staines Boat Club has a proud history, a confident present, an exciting future’