Russell and Dean Downing host an evening of fund-raising with special guests from the world of cycling
Hellaby Hall near Rotherham, South Yorkshire was the venue on Saturday November 1 for the sixth Out of the Saddle Charity Dinner fronted by the Downing brothers, Dean and Russell.
This year the chosen charity to be supported by the fund-raising effort was the local Western Park Cancer Charity, which raises funds for cancer research and patient care and support at the Western Park Hospital in Sheffield, one of only four dedicated cancer hospitals in England.
On the night, just over £10, 000 was raised from the various auction items, raffle and ticket sales.
Visit www.wphcancercharity.org.uk for details of how you can donate.
To raise awareness and support the evening’s fundraising, Out of the Saddle club members Jack and Dan Stephenson were there. They had ridden the London to Paris charity ride earlier this year to raise money for the Western Park appeal as they have a personal connection to the charity with their father currently a patient at the hospital after suffering from bowel cancer. Sarah Cross the hospital’s charity representative was also there to thank Dean, Russell and the Out of the Saddle committee for choosing the charity to benefit from the 2014 dinner’s fund raising efforts.
Over 200 people attended the function on Saturday evening with invited guests introduced by the evening’s MC Joe Fisher. Those included James Shaw, the junior 2014 winner of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Het Nieuwsblad who will join Lotto-Belisol’s development team for 2015, Ben Swift of Team Sky who was third at Milan-San Remo this year and local legends, Chris Walker and Malcolm Elliott.
Matt Stephens’ alter-ego Kenny Van Vlaminck was brought up on stage to give some very amusing nutritional advice to the Downing brothers and talk about the “Oats of the Saddle” amongst other things.
Joe Fisher, who many will have seen and heard at the Tour of Britain stage finishes and Tour Series venues whipping up the crowds, did an excellent job of auctioning off the evening’s auction lots which included David Millar’s POC helmet (shown above) worn at the Worlds and signed by all the GB team, Laura Trott’s world champion jersey, prints by Rich Michelson and Al Heighton, a Team Sky jersey signed by the Vuelta team, Chris Hoy’s Worlds skin suit and one of Russ Downing’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games jerseys.
With Dean Downing having retired this season after July’s Sheffield GP there was a special presentation later in the evening to say one last farewell from the peloton. Deano’s leg hair was noted and there was a special leg waxing interlude which was eagerly taken up by his family members who donated generously for the privilege.