Olympic Hero Attends Charity Luncheon Fundraiser

Raising funds for Rockinghorse children’s charity, the annual Best of British event returned to The Grand Hotel in Brighton for its 11th successful year in a row.

500 guests filled The Empress Suite and enjoyed an impressive three-course lunch followed by an entertaining and insightful question and answer session with Daley Thompson, hosted by MC and comedian Aaron James. 

The Double Olympic Decathlon Champion resides in Brighton and was only too delighted to make a rare public appearance in support of Rockinghorse. Now aged 60, the London-born athlete recalled memories of his four world records, two Olympic gold medals, and three Commonwealth titles. He is considered one of the greatest decathletes of all time.

Through a series of fundraising initiatives during the afternoon, including a raffle and auction, an incredible £38,500 was raised for the children’s charity. Supporting sick and disadvantaged children in Sussex, Rockinghorse works in partnership with hospitals, neonatal units and paediatric services across the county.

Funds raised at the Best of British event will enable the charity to make an impactful difference to the lives of young people with mental health illnesses. Working with the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, and the Love Local Jobs Foundation, funding will benefit young people who’ll experience a series of life-changing trips to Snowdonia National Park, for up to 20 children at a time. 

Ryan Heal, Rockinghorse CEO and organiser of the Best of British events, explains: “For many young people, this will be the next step on their road to recovery from mental illness. We hope this opportunity will help fulfil renewed hopes and dreams as part of an overall happy and healthy future for those supported through the programme.

“We are so very grateful to those who helped make the event possible today, including our headline sponsors, Overline, and of course to everyone who so very generously donated, thank you.”

Rockinghorse works closely with Chalkhill Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit in Haywards Heath, to support young people receiving treatment for a wide range of mental health conditions. It’s the only hospital of its kind in Sussex and in 2015, the charity set up the Rockinghorse Activities Programme and has funded the scheme every year since.

The programme has proved of vital importance to patients, and it is hoped that with the introduction of life-changing trips to Snowdonia, more young people will receive the support they so desperately need. 

The Best of British lunch will return with two events later in the year. The first will take place at The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne on Friday 13 September with rugby legend Rob Andrew, and the second, at the Hilton London Gatwick Airport Hotel on Friday 8 November, welcoming cricket star David Gower.

To find out more, visit www.rockinghorse.org.uk