Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Elton's Stoke Park Gig Raises £300,000 for SportsAid

SportsAid has launched its Elton John Sports Fund with more than £300,000 raised at an acclaimed concert by the artist at Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire on Saturday June 28.

The fund will support some of Britain’s brightest prospects from more than 50 sports by providing annual awards of £2,000 to help with essential training and competition costs.

“Thanks to your support,” Elton said to a crowd of 5,000 fans during the concert, “we will be able to fund young athletes for the next eight years to help make their dreams come true. Thank you!”

One of the first SportsAid athletes to benefit from the Elton John Sports Fund is 16-year-old rower Molly Harding from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire who had the privilege of receiving her cheque from Elton just before he went on stage.

Molly said, “Never would I have thought that I would be receiving this award, let alone receiving it from the man himself! To know that SportsAid and others see this potential in me really gives me that encouragement to believe that I will be next. The whole experience was very overwhelming.”

She added, “This support has come at a time that I need it most. With events that I’m hoping to be selected for such as the world junior rowing championships I’m going to need this money to help pay for the costs of travelling.”

Also receiving £2,000 cheques from Elton on the night were 17-year-old sprinter Daryll Neita from Lee in south east London, 14-year-old swimmer Holly Hibbott from Southport in Merseyside, 17-year-old sprinter James Arnott from Plymouth in Devon and 15-year-old cyclist Fred Wright from Herne Hill in London.

Said Fred, “I was a little bit nervous to be honest but it was great speaking to Elton and he was really interested in us and our sports and knew a lot about it. I didn’t know he had such an interest in cycling.”

James concurred, ”Knowing that Elton is willing to give up his time and support for our future is fantastic. He was so knowledgeable about us and our sports, it was really an honour to meet him.”

Daryll summed it up by saying, “I never in my life thought I would meet Elton John. It is great that he wanted to donate his time and support to us as the next generation and to see that he has such a genuine interest in our future.”

On meeting the athletes Elton said, “It was a special moment to meet the first five young athletes to benefit from the fund. Their successes are already very impressive, and with a little extra help and recognition who knows what they could go on to achieve. They are the reason we were all at Stoke Park for the concert. Working with SportsAid, we know we are helping the right athletes at the right time.”

“We had a great night on Saturday,” Elton said after the concert. “The place was buzzing and it was fun to see so many Olympians and Paralympians dancing in amongst the crowd. What a great way to help our next generation of champions.”

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