A Westminster-based charity has raised more than £59,000 at a fundraising gala dinner to support female paralympic in their journeys to Tokyo in 2020 and beyond.
'Path to Success' hosted a fundraising gala at the Historic Church House in Westminster supporting twelve athletes across four major disability sports: para badminton, wheelchair tennis, para powerlifting and wheelchair basketball.
Athletes included powerlifters Olivia Broome and Louise Sugden, wheelchair tennis stars Jordanne Whiley, Lucy Shuker, Lauren Jones, Ruby Bishop, Abbie Breakwell and Louise Hunt, para badminton’s Mary Wilson, Rebecca Bedford and Rachel Choong and wheelchair basketball player Sophie Patterson.
All of these athletes are underfunded due to falling outside of central funding programmes wherein they have to fund themselves through any means necessary. Many rely on friends and family for donations, and if they cannot attract sponsorship, they are forced to dip into their disability allowances. Para badminton star Mary Wilson was even using her pension pot and war pension to fund her participation in international tournaments before receiving support from Path to Success.
Path to Success was founded by philanthropist Anita Choudhrie in 2005. She said,
“It is our mission at Path to Success to support and empower women in disability sport. The money raised at this year’s gala dinner will be crucial for our Path to Tokyo 2020 campaign, which supports talented and inspiring disabled female athletes who remain badly underfunded.
“Our goal is to help these women achieve their dreams in Tokyo and beyond, and to inspire a new generation of female Paralympic stars to embrace their talent and chase their own dreams.”
The money raised by Path to Success will help these athletes afford coaching, tournament entry fees, travel costs, physiotherapy and court hire fees .
More than 200 guests attended the gala dinner, with entertainment provided by DJ Navi from Tramp London and Incognito Artists, a group of stars from London’s best-known West End shows who captivated the audience with an assortment of iconic songs.