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Oakham School hosts a 'Big Night Out'

Published by Oakham School on Monday 10th of March 2014

Oakham School's 'Big Night Out' certainly lived up to expectations this weekend. As well as being a great evening of sporting entertainment, the School also raised approximately £15,000 for a range of charities, and to contribute towards the upcoming sports tour to South Africa.

Two sporting heroes spoke during the evening - Rugby World Cup winning Captain, Martin Johnson CBE, and Olympic Badminton Silver Medallist and World Champion Gail Emms CBE. Both had the audience enthralled with anecdotes of their lives, their careers and their experiences of being on tour.

Director of Sport, Iain Simpson was 'delighted that so much money has been raised to support such a great range of charities. It was particularly good to see how many people supported the event.' He also mentioned how he was 'incredibly proud of the pupils who worked so hard to help organise and run the evening.'

Martin Johnson imparted some great advice to the 125 pupils who are going on tour later this year. He said that to go abroad and win games was incredibly hard, as you have to overcome the local advantage of having their supporters watching the game. He suggested that when the pupils were nervous, tense and anxious before a match, that they should catch the eyes of their team mates, to give them confidence. He also said that when you are in 'big' games, that you shouldn't feel pressured to do 'big' things. Instead, he recommended that the players have the confidence t ''just do what they do well''

During her speech, Gail reminisced about her own school days, and the importance of having good role models. She described how her mother, Gail's role model, had introduced her to badminton at an early age, and that one of her proudest moments was finally managing to win a game against her!

The auction, to raise money for a range of different charities both in South Africa and the UK, included a wide variety of items, from signed rugby and cricket shirts, to a week on a yacht in Greece. The charities include The Bobs for Good Foundation, which helps underprivileged children in South Africa, and is run by Former Springbok rugby player Bob Skinstad. During their tour, Oakham School pupils will do a 'foot drop', where they will deliver shoes to a school in a township in Cape Town.

£1,000 of the money raised during the evening will also be donated to Sports Aid, of which Gail Emms is an Ambassador. The charity, which has been long supported by Oakham School, helps the sports stars of tomorrow today by giving them cash awards during the defining early years of their careers.

Another charity to benefit from the evening will be Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. The School has been supporting this charity since Oakham's International Hockey Coach, Martin Scanlon, began to battle against the disease for the second time. £1,500 was raised from the auction of a dinner with 4 GB hockey internationals Georgie Twigg, Maddie Hinch, Ellie Watton and Holly Webb. During the evening, Martin described how 'overwhelmed' he was by the support he had received from the School and he thanked them for everything they had done.
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