Record-breaking lunch boosts funds
Several of the former top athletes attending the charity’s fundraising lunch, Journalism’s Salute to Olympians and Paralympians, commented that they had rarely been together in such numbers since retiring from competition. “Could be a record,” joked one gold medal-winner.
Held at Savoy Place on May 22, it was one of the most successful London events in the charity’s recent history.
Generous sponsorship from Google and Camelot – both avid supporters of the Journalists’ Charity – plus a highly successful raffle for a case of excellent claret, donated by Berry Bros & Rudd, meant a total of around £15,000 much-needed income was raised.
A glittering array of Olympic and Paralympic stars turned out to be honoured by journalists and their friends, including two distinguished former competitors who were the afternoon’s speakers: the Rt Hon Sir Menzies (Ming) Campbell, a sprinter who held the British record at 100 metres for seven years long before he led the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons, and Lord Colin Moynihan, a former Minister for Sport and now chairman of the British Olympic Association, a silver medallist at Moscow in 1980 as cox of Britain’s rowing eight.
Among many other former Olympians and Paralympians present were Sir Roger Bannister, the first man ever to run a sub-four-minute mile, David Wilkie, silver medallist in the 200 metres breaststroke at the Munich Olympics (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/1972_Summer_Olympics) in 1972 and winner of gold, setting a world record, in the same event at Montreal in 1956; David Bedford, former world record (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/World_record_progression_10,000_metres_men) holder at 10,000 metres and subsequently race director of the London Marathon; Jennifer Stoute, winner of an Olympic bronze as a member of the 4×400 metres British relay team at Barcelona in 1992, but perhaps best known as “Rebel” in the TV show, Gladiators; and Dr Richard Budgett, a member of the gold-winning British coxed fours at the 1984 Los Angeles Games (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/1984_Los_Angeles_Olympic_Games), who since then he’s been chief medical officer to the British team for three winter games, led the Team GB medical team at three summer Games and is CMO to the London 2012 games.
Duncan Goodhew, gold and bronze medals-winner in Moscow for the 100 metres breaststroke and 4×100 metres medley relay and former captain of the British swimming team, brought along to the lunch both his gold medal and a 2012 Olympic torch, which was fondled enviously by many of those present.
Jointly hosted by Anna Botting, Royal Television Society’s presenter of the year for her work at Sky News and a member of the charity’s council, and Sony Award-winning LBC broadcaster Nick Ferrari, the lunch also featured a response to the toast to Olympians and Paralympians by Lord Moynihan.,
Sir Menzies Campbell, who competed in both the 200 metres and the 4×400 metre relay at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, said life for competitors had changed beyond recognition since the day when the games were only for amateurs – in his day there were no nutritionists and his mother helped him prepare him for races with a meal of steak and three eggs, washed down with hot milk and brandy!
He spoke of the “shamateurism” that existed, particularly in the Soviet states where athletes were given high ranking army positions so that they could prepare train full time, and in the United States, where some colleges selected athletes without subjecting them to normal academic rigour. “It was virtually possible to study for a degree in long jumping,” he said, adding that he supported proper professionalism as it destroyed such artificial barriers between competitions.
But Sir Menzies criticised the decline in coverage of athletics in the national media and told a packed audience, “It would be good to see more regular coverage of sports that are not football.”