On Friday 2nd September a presentation ceremony was held at The Grapes by the organisers of The Belper Games, to award cheques to medical and local charities. In attendance were representatives from the three charities which The Belper Games favour and from local groups, the Army Cadets and The Drop Inn youth centre. Local Conservative politicians, Pauline Latham MP and Mayor, Gary Spendlove were also present to award cheques.
The Belper Games this year evolved from a fundraising fun day into a weekend festival of music, stalls, film, food and games.
The Belper Games began in 2012 as a way to raise money to help Penny Wheeler live a more normal life, when a lack of support and experimental drugs meant that her Scleroderma and Pulmonary Fibrosis were costing her family tens of thousands of pounds. Since her death in 2012, family enterprise Penny’s Trust has continued in her honour, to raise money for charities for little known illnesses and local Belper groups. They are organised by Nick Wheeler and Jim and Kerry Bull. Kerry suffers from Fredireichs Ataxia, and Ataxia UK is a beneficiary of the Belper Games, along with the Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust and Scleroderma and Raynauds UK.
This year they increased their fundraising to £30,000. Each of the three charities supporting the illnesses which the Games was created to fund recieved £9000 apiece. £2000 went to The Drop Inn, which serves the youth of Belper and a further £500 went to the Army Cadets.
Scleroderma and Raynauds were unable to send a representative due to a charity AGM.
Pauline Latham presented the cheque to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust, stating “Thanks to Nick for doing this. Without your support nobody would know about these diseases and how it affects the families.” John Williams from Ataxia UK pointed out that charities were struggling for support at the moment. Mayor Gary Spendlove presented the cheque to Andrea Fox, founder of The Drop Inn and stressed that the exposure these charities recieve is invaluable and that the event brings the people of Belper together in happiness, “The spirit of the games was always smiling people.”
The Army Cadets will be using their money to subsidise three cadets going to their annual training camp in Gibraltar.
Nick Wheeler ended the presentations by addressing Belper residents, “Thank you very much. You make it what it is.” Organisation has already started for the sixth Belper games in 2017. Many people speaking praised the Rugby Club for their premises, support and enthusiasm.