One of Britain’s most loved sporting personalities will be helping a Coventry company to hit the £100,000 fundraising target for Support Our Paras from its annual star-studded golf day.
Frank Bruno MBE, former WBC Heavyweight Boxing World Champion, will be the special guest and dinner speaker at the sixth Wigley Group Golf Open & Gala Dinner taking place on Thursday, July 19.
The event will raise money for the Wigley Support Fund, an initiative launched by commercial property and construction company The Wigley Group in 2017 to retrain soldiers identified by the Parachute Regiment charity Support Our Paras.
It netted £17,000 for the Wigley Support Fund last year, taking the total amount raised over five years of the event for Support Our Paras to more than £80,000.
The special guest announcement comes as the Wigley Support Fund joins forces with Support Our Paras on a new opportunity for soldiers to take the first step towards becoming a boxing coach.
The first 12 wounded, serving and veteran Paratroopers will be signed up for the England Boxing and Police Community Clubs of Great Britain’s Boxing Leader course in June.
Robert Wigley, chairman of The Wigley Group, said: “We are delighted to have the support of Frank Bruno. He is a national treasure and more than two decades on from becoming World Champion, is still regarded as one of Britain’s most loved sporting personalities.
“We are planning for this year’s event to be the best ever and with his presence, hope to attract a bigger crowd and take our fundraising total for Support Our Paras to over £100,000.
“It is fitting that we are embarking on a new collaboration with Support Our Paras to provide funding for injured veterans to train to become a qualified Boxing Leader, which can lead to them becoming a registered England Boxing coach.”
Bruno will be joined by other sporting celebrities at this year’s event at De Vere Staverton Estate, near Daventry, which attracts around 200 business professionals from across the region. They include sports promoter Barry Hearn and darts legends Steve Beaton, Rob Cross, Justin Pipe and Colin Lloyd.
As well as speaking at the gala dinner, Bruno will present prizes to winners of the golf open ahead of an auction.
TV sports announcer and former paratrooper John McDonald is the ambassador and host of the day, which gets underway with the Parachute Regiment display team the Red Devils landing on the golf course with the tournament balls.
The Wigley Group is working with European Golf Challenge, which organises around 200 golf days a year in the UK and overseas, to enhance the golf element of the fundraiser.
James Davies, managing director of The Wigley Group, said: “The Wigley Support Fund is about helping Paratroopers with their transition into civilian life by equipping them with the skills they need to forge a new career and make a new start.”
Coventry-born Lance Corporal Gavin Prue was the first beneficiary of The Wigley Support Fund and has been helped with the cost of studying an access to higher education in computing at the city’s Henley College.
LCpl Prue said: “I left school with no formal education. Within a year, and with the help of The Wigley Group, I have gone from having no GCSEs to having five offers from universities to study for a degree leading to a new career in cyber security.”