Decathlete Daley delights at charitable sporting lunch

Daley Thompson and Ryan Heal, Rockinghorse CEO and Best of British event organiser (photo: Stephen Johnson Photography)

Guests were treated to an afternoon in the presence of legendary sporting personality Daley Thompson CBE.

Supporting Rockinghorse, the annual Best of British charity lunch took place on Friday 31 May. It was kindly sponsored by Overline and held at The Grand Hotel in Brighton for its 11th successful year in a row.

500 people from Sussex businesses filled The Empress Suite. They 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.

Double Olympic Decathlon Champion Daley now lives in Brighton and was only too delighted to make a rare public appearance in support of our charity. Aged 60, the London-born athlete recalled memories of his four world records, two Olympic gold medals, and three Commonwealth titles. He is without doubt one of the greatest decathletes of all time.

MC and comedian Aaron James quizzes Daley during a Q&A (photo: Stephen Johnson Photography)

An amazing amount raised for Rockinghorse

A fundraising raffle and auction were held during the afternoon, which raised an incredible £38,500 for Rockinghorse! We work in partnership with hospitals, neonatal units and paediatric services across the county to support sick and disadvantaged children in Sussex.

The funds raised will enable us 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. The trips will cater for up to 20 children at a time.

Guest Mike Sparkes bid for a personally signed canvas from Daley (photo: Stephen Johnson Photography)

Supporting young people with mental health illnesses

Ryan Heal, Rockinghorse CEO and organiser of the Best of British events, explains more. He says: “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. Thank you to our headline sponsors, Overline, and of course to everyone who so very generously donated.”

Here at Rockinghorse, we work closely with Chalkhill Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit in Haywards Heath. We aim to support young people who are receiving treatment for a wide range of mental health conditions. Chalkhill is the only hospital of its kind in Sussex and in 2015, we set up the Rockinghorse Activities Programme. Thanks to your support, we have funded the scheme every year since.

The programme is vitally important to patients during their time on the unit. We hope that with the introduction of life-changing trips to Snowdonia, more young people will receive the support they so desperately need.

Rockinghorse staff and volunteers at the event (photo: Stephen Johnson Photography)

Join us for the next Best of British event

The Best of British lunch will return with two events later this year. The first will take place at The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne on Friday 13 September with rugby legend Rob Andrew. The second will be held at the Hilton London Gatwick Airport Hotel on Friday 8 November, welcoming cricket star David Gower. We hope to see you there!

Find out more about Best of British Eastbourne, and Best of British Gatwick.

The Rockinghorse team would like to thank the Best of British Brighton headline sponsor; Overline, and co-sponsors; British Airways i360, City Cabs Brighton, Clearline Recruitment, Extech Cloud, Leaders, Red7, Rix & Kay Solicitors, Fundraising Auctions, Mascol Events and The Grand Brighton.

To find out more about our projects, please click here.

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