Pioneering Sports Charity

BBC Sports Personality Unsung Hero Award 2010

SportsTraider celebrated at House of Commons

FAMOUS faces helped to honour the work of a pioneering sports charity enterprise born in Bedford at a reception in The House of Commons.SportsTraider, the brainchild of Lance Haggith, opened the doors of its inaugural store in Bedford two years ago.

Since then the concept has gone from strength to strength. And Lance, of Bromham, was honoured in front of TV millions with the award of BBC Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero 2010.SportsTraider’s work was celebrated at a plush reception hosted by Bedford & Kempston MP Richard Fuller at the House Of Commons.Among the invited star guests were Manchester City footballer Patrick Vieira and the fashion supremo Karen Millen.

TV presenter John Stapleton introduced guest speakers for the evening and they began with Bedford’s very own Olympian, badminton star Gail Emms.Gail regaled the audience with stories of how she had made it in the world of sport, with one of her first breakthrough achievements being beating her mum on the court for the first time!Following, Richard Fuller joked that the strong county presence at the gathering meant all guests could consider themselves honorary Bedfordians for the evening.

He praised Sports Traider for the: “Wonderful start they have made in Bedford, we look forwarding to seeing this rolled out around the country.“We have seen what a good man Lance is, and what a good team he leads at SportsTraider.”Following a short film outlining the company’s work, Lance explained that the inspiration behind the concept came when he was running a training session in winter and spotted a child arriving in just a T-shirt. The boy told him he couldn’t afford a coat, so Lance found one in lost property.He saw the possibilities of ensuring unwanted kit and equipment was put to good use – and the first SportsTraider store opened in Greyfriars, Bedford in 2009.

Further shops have since followed following a deal with Capital Shopping Centres, who were also represented at the function. Lance said: “The shop benefits the community of wherever that shop is located.“My job is to ensure unwanted equipment and kit gets into the hands of people who need it. We are trying to get the youth to do more sport.” The shops have become a social hub of the community. SportsTraider has led to free summer schemes, coaching in and outsdie school and initiatives for youths not in education, employment or training.