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Wiltshire Sports Personality of the Year Laura Halford

Businesses encouraged to support the county’s next sporting stars

Businesses in Wiltshire are being encouraged to support the next generation of athletes and benefit from the opportunities support could bring.

As part of a Legacy for Wiltshire, a Wiltshire Council-led partnership which aims to encourage people to keep fit and active, boost the local economy and bring communities together, the council, alongside Wessex Chambers, is hosting its second Business and Sports Gala Dinner at County Hall, Trowbridge on March 26.

Following the huge success of last year’s inaugural event, where almost £30,000 was raised to provide financial help to local, elite athletes, the council is again calling on businesses to get involved.

There are many positive opportunities for businesses that decide to support the initiative and get involved such as publicity, building up unique relationships with local athletes, many networking opportunities and free membership of the Wessex Chambers.

Money raised will fund a special foundation set up to build on the annual Funding Future Olympians and Paralympians grant.

The aim of the event is to generate as much funding as possible to assist athletes with world-class potential in their journey to success. The funding is generated by businesses sponsoring the event and unique experiences and prizes being auctioned off on the evening.

Last April, 14 of Wiltshire’s most talented athletes benefitted from funding including swimmers Aaron Moores and Stephanie Millward, who was supported by the Wessex Chambers, and the recently-crowned Wiltshire Sports Personality of the Year, rhythmic gymnast Laura Halford.

Funds raised throughout the evening will enable successful applicants to access training and attend competitions as well as fund equipment and transport costs to regional and national events.

Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott said: “We are hugely committed to supporting our future sporting stars and extremely proud to do so. Their success puts Wiltshire on the international map so we will continue to do what we can to give them the best opportunities possible.

“Businesses came out in force in March to back the first gala event and I am sure we can do even better this time and raise much more money to help support the next generation of our sports stars.”

Pension Solutions Group were one such local business that supported the gala in March and provided financial support for Judo champion Jemima Duxberry and cyclist Lauren Booth.

Their communications director Mike Baker said: “We at PSG were all keen for this to be about more than that one night. We wanted it to be the start of an ongoing commitment to the ideals of the grant system Wiltshire Council put in place.

“Both Jemima and Lauren have been great at keeping us posted on how things have gone for them since the gala dinner and how they are getting on with training and competing now. We felt proud to be helping.”

Laura Halford was grateful for the funding she received. She said: “Receiving the funding was very important to me because it allowed me to focus on my training and purchase equipment for the most important event of my career today, the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“2014 was a very special year for me, coming away with three medals in Glasgow exceeded my expectations and has set me on the path to Rio in 2016. I’m grateful for the support I have received.”

Any businesses interested in supporting the gala and playing a part on the evening should call 01225 713573 or email

More information can also be found at