Ipswich gymnasts head over heels with financial support

Two aspiring gymnasts from Ipswich are head over heels after receiving funding to support their sporting endeavours.

Abigail Roper (18) and Charlie Harvey-Lloyd (18), both members of Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club in Ipswich, attended an Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club event recently to receive grants of £1,000 each to help them with the cost of training and competing at an elite level.

They were presented with their grants by GB gymnastics legend Beth Tweddle, MBE. Tweddle, who was guest speaker at the event, is Britain’s greatest ever female gymnast having won an Olympic medal, been a triple World Champion, six-time European Champion and a Commonwealth Champion in a glittering career spanning many years.

A delighted Abigail said “I’m so grateful to SportsAid for providing me with this funding. It really will make a huge difference to me as I work towards representing Wales in the Northern European Championship in Sweden later this year.”

Charlie, who is currently transitioning into senior gymnastics, said “My ambition is to become a successful gymnast and compete at the highest level but it is very difficult to afford the essential equipment and training costs so this funding will make a world of difference to me”.

Pound Gates co-sponsors the Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club with Ellisons Solicitors, Ensors Chartered Accountants, Waller Transport Services, Fenn Wright Surveyors and Agents, Handelsbanken, Beckett Investment Management Group and StrategiQ Marketing Ltd. Two sporting lunches are held a year to raise money for SportsAid, the National Charity for Sport. SportsAid then works with the governing bodies of 75 sporting disciplines to provide much needed funding to support the right people at the right time in their sporting journeys.

Since 1976, SportsAid has supported tens of thousands of athletes by distributing over £50 million in awards. The charity’s extensive alumni stretches across the generations with Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Sarah Storey, Steve Redgrave, Katherine Grainger and Daley Thompson all stand-out names.

Alistair Mitchell of Fenn Wright, speaking on behalf of the sponsors, said “whilst there is so much talent in Suffolk it sometimes needs a helping hand to flourish and blossom. As sponsors, we recognise the depth of talent in the county and are committed to lending a helping hand where it’s needed.”

Beth Tweddle was quick to pay tribute to the Lunch Club sponsors, saying, “without organisations like those behind the Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club, SportsAid would not be able to support as many athletes as they do and talented young people from Suffolk would miss out on vital funding. I would like to thank them on behalf of the many young athletes their fundraising has already supported and will do in the future. It really does make a huge difference.”

The next Ipswich Sporting Lunch Club event will take place in March 2024. Any businesses wishing to attend should contact Sally Peck at sally@sportsaid.org.uk for information. More information about SportsAid can be found at www.sportsaideastern.co.uk.