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Lord lauds Ipswich businesses for helping county’s future sports stars

May 15, 2024 3 min read

Lord Holmes of Richmond, MBE, has praised a group of Ipswich businesses for their ‘vital’ support for talented up and coming sportsmen and women from Suffolk.

He said, “we have a very special group of businesses here in Ipswich that have done a huge amount to support talented young sportsmen and women from the county as they battle to excel at the very highest levels”.

The remarks came at the latest Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club event, which took place at Venue 16 on Friday (15th March), in the presence of 175 local business leaders.

Lord Holmes, who was guest speaker at the event, is Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer of all time with nine gold medals. He won an unprecedented six gold medals at the Barcelona Paralympics. He also gained a string of World and European titles, broke 35 world records and, at the age of just 20, was awarded an MBE for services to British sport.

Later, he became Director of Paralympic Integration for London 2012 and, in recognition of his contribution to the country, he was invited by the Prime Minister to enter the House of Lords.

Lord Holmes was quick to single out the lunch club sponsors for praise, saying “with the spotlight starting to fall on this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, it reminds us all of the huge effort, sacrifice and expense that athletes have to go through to compete on the greatest stage of all.”

Long before they get any national funding or sponsorship, the cost burden generally falls on the bank of mum and dad. The fact that eight local businesses are prepared to work with SportsAid Eastern on an ongoing basis, to raise money to help local athletes, is great credit to them and speaks volumes about how much importance they place on supporting their local community.”

The businesses praised by Lord Holmes all sponsor the Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club. They are Pound Gates Chartered Insurance Brokers, Ensors Chartered Accountants, Ellisons Solicitors, StrategiQ, Beckett Financial Services, Handelsbanken, Fenn Wright and Waller Transport.  Since the club was established in 2015, their fundraising has directly enabled SportsAid to make 84 grants to young sportsmen and women from Suffolk.

Julian Outen, a Partner at Ellisons Solicitors, responded to Lord Holmes, saying “On behalf of the sponsors, I’d like to thank Lord Holmes for his kind comments. It’s always flattering to receive comments like this, especially from such an esteemed person as Lord Holmes. As sponsors, we all recognise the importance of helping talent to grow and flourish, not only within our own organisations but also in the wider community.”

As part of proceedings, Lord Holmes presented three young Suffolk athletes with SportsAid grants. They were:

Jane Horridge, Director of SportsAid Eastern, reinforced Lord Holmes comments, adding “the businesses behind the Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club are making a real difference. Through their efforts they’re helping to further Suffolk athletes and improve sporting outcomes, not only for individuals, but also for the nation. They have my heartfelt thanks.”

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