Greenwich Starting Blocks

October 31, 2019

Gala Dinner Success

The Greenwich Starting Blocks Trust Gala Dinner, which was held on Thursday 24th October 2019 at Magazine London - the major new event venue on the Greenwich Peninsular - has been described as a ‘brilliant night that has really put Greenwich Starting Blocks on the map’ by the charity's Chairman John Anderson. Over 340 guests attended, including the Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Cllr Danny Thorpe and the Mayor Cllr Mick Hayes.

Hosted by trustee Steve Sutherland, the special guest was Steve Backley OBE, one of Great Britain’s most successful track and field athletes, winning medals at 3 consecutive Olympic Games. Steve gave an entertaining and inspiring speech on his outstanding sporting career – and on his exploits on ‘Dancing on Ice’! – and he also interviewed on stage some of the charity's top athletes; summer and winter Olympian sprint and bobsleigh athlete Montell Douglas, Youth Olympic Games Gold Medallist Caroline Dubois, a key member of the victorious Cambridge crew in this year’s Boat Race, Callum Sullivan and the Heavyweight British and Commonwealth title holder, Daniel Dubois.

Other supported athletes in attendance were Matthew Robertson, Natasha Sinha, Sabrina Sinha and Hester Barsham-Rolfe.

The audience were shown the specially-produced Greenwich Starting Blocks promotional video produced by Silverfish Films, which was aimed at showcasing Greenwich’s exciting young athletic talent and encouraging further support from across the local business community for the charity.

The Gala Dinner also saw another inspiring young Greenwich Starting Blocks athlete, Para-Cyclist Matthew Robertson being announced as the 2019 'Muhammad Ali, Young Athlete of Year' award winner. Presented every year to recognise the achievements of a young athlete, the award is the result of a partnership between Greenwich Starting Blocks Trust and the Muhammad Ali Foundation which was established in 2016. Matthew received his thoroughly well-deserved award on stage from Steve Backley and John Anderson.

Speaking after the Gala Dinner, Greenwich Starting Blocks Chair John Anderson said, "It was great to see such amazing encouragement for our local Athletes. Our Gala Dinner once again highlighted the marvellous support that Greenwich Starting Blocks has from the local community and businesses. On behalf of our athletes and my fellow Trustees, I would like to thank everyone who attended."

Founded in 2006 by then Leader of Greenwich Council Chris Roberts; Greenwich Starting Blocks Trust helps support and develop talented Greenwich-based young athletes. From a handful of athletes in those early days, the Charity is now supporting over 100 athletes across 23 sports with National and International champions as well as athletes looking towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Further support to the youngest aspiring athletes comes from GLL, who provide free 'training membership' places at all GLL facilities across London.

  • "Our Gala Dinner once again highlighted the marvellous support that Greenwich Starting Blocks has from the local community and businesses."

    John Anderson - Chair, Greenwich Starting Blocks