We were delighted to take part in the 2015 Dave Rayner Fund Annual Dinner last weekend. The fundraiser, now in its twenty-first year, was set up after Dave's tragic death at the age of 27, which cut short a promising career. The Fund's lasting legacy is to help young and aspiring British riders realise their dreams of becoming road race professionals by providing the necessary funding. Dreams such as these take time and money to stand any chance of succeeding and the rigours of training and living in both the UK and on the Continent come at a high price for any aspiring youngster.
There was a warm northern welcome to the sell-out event, which featured special guests such as Steve Cummings, Adam Yates, Owain Doull, Jessie Walker and the Brownlee brothers. The on-stage guest interviews and accompanying video footage brought back some emotional memories and joyous victories from the 2015 season, which the crowd could share - for a moment - with those who achieved them.
The evening was punctuated with an array of fundraising opportunities comprising both silent and live auctions. Items such as signed jerseys from Chris Froome, Peter Sagan, Lizzie Armitstead and Ian Stannard created a real stir with some totally outrageous bidding battles going on. It was so cool to see people blowing vast budgets all for a good cause!
Fund-raising events such as the Dave Rayner dinner are a vital source of funding and encouragement for potential stars of the future in what remains an incredibly competitive sport.
After an excellent three-course dinner, the evening ended with some well oiled cyclists, young and old, hitting the dance floor throwing some shapes and executing some top class dad dancing moves. Good job the Lycra was left at home!