Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Olympic Champion supports The Soldiers’ Charity

OLYMPIC champion Heather Stanning visited Henley for a fund-raising charity lunch.

Stanning, a serving army captain who won Britain’s first gold medal at London 2012 in the women’s coxless pair, was at Leander Club for the event in aid of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

More than 50 former and current servicemen and women and their families were at the lunch, which raised £2,262.

Stanning gave a talk and then answered questions from guests. She said: “This charity is very important as it helps not only soldiers but their families as well. It’s the least I can do to come along and help.”

She is currently on leave from the army while she trains for the world championships in Amsterdam in August.

She said: “I got back from Afghanistan in November and I’m now officially a full-time athlete living and training in Reading.

Winter is the busiest time for training. I have huge admiration for the guys in London who are out on the river at 5am before going to work at 8am. I’m glad I don’t have to get up so early.”

The event included a raffle and auction which raised more than £1,000.

A Team GB shirt signed by the entire women’s rowing squad was won by Ian McHugh, a member of Staines Rowing Club. A free rowing or sculling session with Stanning went to Zara Porter-Hills and a Leander club package for two was won by a guest who asked to remain anonymous.

A cheque for £1,000 was donated to the charity by Kieron Mallon, chairman of the Banbury Household Division and a former Irish Guard.

The charity was founded in 1944 and spends more than £30,000 a year in Oxfordshire to help current and former soldiers and their families.

Nick Leadbetter, chairman of the Oxfordshire branch, said: “There is a greater demand on the charity now than there has ever been. The charity is an essential part of providing welfare support to our soldiers and veterans.”

He thanked Tim Davies, who organised the event.

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