Trustees Open To Fund-Raising Thoughts

Latest News Monday 6th December 2021, 8:10am

by Hayley Bromley

You don't have to be a rider or ex-rider to do something to raise money for the Bend Fund…

And the five trustees of the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund – former ACU Director Tony Noel, SCB Director Chris van Straaten, BSPL representative Alex Harkess, ex-rider Kenny McKinna and SRBF chairman Paul Ackroyd – are always eager to hear of any ideas that can boost the coffers.

Ackroyd admitted: "We are always open to any ideas for raising money and we look forward to hearing suggestions from anyone who wants to help us.

"Our only goal is to help riders and former riders who need it and we are hoping that next season British Speedway can get back to normal with a full season.

"If that's the case, we could be looking to help 30-35 different riders as well as those who need more long-term assistance.

"We are proud of what the Ben Fund does every year and we also believe in transparency so that everyone knows where the money goes.

"One piece of good news to end the year is that we are already looking ahead to organising the Ben Fund Bonanza at the beginning of next season."

Earlier this year, ex-King's Lynn and Oxford promoter Nigel Wagstaff arranged a successful football match and, more recently, Belle Vue organised a fishing event – and you couldn't get anything less action-packed than that!

Authors have made donations from the sale of books they have written, and, of course, there are the trusty regulars like cycle rides and runs.

Richard Owen, son of former rider Taffy Owen, who dies in August, took part in the 10-kilometre Great Manchester Run and raised £578 for his exhausting efforts.

Another fund-raiser is three-time cycle speedway junior world champion Will Jeffrey who raised £280 for the Ben Fund after completing the Oxford half-Marathon despite a knee injury!

On his Just giving Page for the run, Jeffrey explained why he was putting himself through the pain barrier: "As a speedway fan and close friend of many riders, I know the devastating impact an injury can have. This fantastic charity assists British Speedway Racers, their dependants and family, following serious or life-changing Speedway related accidents.

"The Fund can assist in many ways for example necessary home adaptations to allow wheel-chair access, medical equipment, specialist care, financial support and the general welfare and wellbeing of those who have suffered life changing injuries."

The Jeffrey family are keen speedway followers and, no doubt, will be there for the re-opening of Oxford next spring.

Dad Rob said: "Will's had a lot of success in cycle speedway. He's twice won the junior world team cup, the first time in Australia in 2017 and the second in Poland in 2019, when he was captain. He also won the junior pairs championship in Poland in 2019.

"Cycle speedway is not without its perils and Will suffered a distended knee just a few weeks before he was due to run in the half-marathon but he's young and decided he'd do it anyway. He was running alongside his friend Jamie Don and finished the course in just over 2 hours."

And he also had his first ride on a speedway bike earlier this year, taking part in one of Barry Bishop's My First Skid days on the Isle of Wight, and also got involved as a mechanic for Nathan Stoneman when Oxford raced at Smallbrook Stadium in July.

20-year-old Will is certainly doing more than his bit for the Ben Fund as he also put on his shooting boots and played in the charity football match at Cogenhoe united FC!

But perhaps the most unusual event to bring in the cash was Belle Vue's first staging of The Wheelie Big Catch fishing tournament in October.

Despite wet and windy conditions at Heronbrook Fisheries, Staffs, there was a good turnout of anglers that raised more than £400.

Belle Vue's CEO Adrian Smith was among those who took part and while he didn't land the biggest catch, he did come third with fish weighing in at 35lbs.