The Jamie G Sporting Trust held their ninth annual fund-raising event at a Summer Ball at The Lights in Andover. Established in 2009, the registered charity is a memorial to young Andover sportsman, Jamie Gentleman, who died just before his 14th birthday. The Trust was set up to provide sporting opportunities for the young people of Andover.
The Trust has made over forty awards amounting to tens of thousands of pounds to clubs over the years, as well as providing the Andover Sports Fair, free for the sports clubs and people of Andover. In 2015, the Trust decided to put all its efforts into a legacy project for the local community, in memory of Jamie.
Trust Chairman, Paul Gregory, opened the evening, welcoming over 180 supporters to the Ball, many of whom had been to every fundraiser. Over the last two years the Trust has focussed its fund-raising, working with Anton Junior School, to build a Sports Hall for use by the school and the wider community out of school hours, with emphasis on participation by young people. The multi-purpose Sports Hall has been designed for use by clubs for a wide range of sports including badminton, basketball, netball, 5 a-side football and many more. The controversial Andover Leisure Centre development, now partly a pile of rubble outside The Lights, was a stark reminder that there is a shortage of local sports facilities which the Sports Hall will help fill and local clubs are excited by it.
The full planning application has been submitted, site surveys completed, quotes have been received and the procurement process will close imminently with appointment of the main contractor. With ground works scheduled to be completed by spring 2018, the Sports Hall will be completed in summer 2018.
Tommy Gentleman, Jamie’s older brother, then spoke movingly of his many constant memories of Jamie and how his death had been the worst thing that could have happened to him and the family. Instead of turning in on themselves and burying their grief, they decided that life was precious and should be lived to the full and that supporting sport for young people would be exactly what Jamie would have wanted. The decision to cooperate with the school to build the Sports Hall as a long lasting legacy to Jamie, perfectly fitted the desire to keep that memory fresh.
The audience greeted this warmly and with the Trust’s pledge to provide £100,000 towards the project within sight, the fundraising started enthusiastically. With an auction, raffle and other fund-raising games, a new Trust record of over £10,000 was set and the £100,000 milestone passed.
To top the evening, to great excitement, Sofie Neal from Barclays Business Relationship Banking, made a surprise announcement of a £5,000 donation to take the grand total to over £15,000 for the night’s fundraising. Although the milestone has been hit, the fund raising will continue as there is still much work to do to see the project to completion.
The enthusiastic guests danced into the night to live music from the fabulous band “Totally Functional”. Truly a memorable night for the Trust which did Jamie proud.
For more information or to make a donation go to www.jamiegsportingtrust.org