Vale Paralympic fencing stars are the real business

BSL event at Holiday Inn Left to right: Paul bolton, Gemma Collis, Craig McCann, Ian Rees
BSL event at Holiday Inn Left to right: Paul bolton, Gemma Collis, Craig McCann, Ian Rees

Paralympian wheelchair fencers Craig McCann and Gemma Collis were pure gold as special guests at a festive business dinner at Aylesbury Holiday Inn.

The pair from Aston Clinton, who are aiming for the 2016 Rio Games, are reliant on support from the Wheelpower charity, which is backed by the new BSL Business Dinner Club.

Craig, 28, has made a rapid rise in the sport since overcoming a brain tumour diagnosed at an RAF medical.

He said: “Local support is the best kind of support and we are trying to get a business sponsor on board to help us get out there and do what we need to do to get to the games and do well.

“It is going to be a tough four years raising money to take part in competitions as well as training but we are determined and confident in what we are doing.”

Gemma, 20, is also new to the sport after being diagnosed with a progressive nervous system disease.

Despite considerable pain at times, she told the audience she is keen to 
excel just as she did before illness where she was 
double county champion in the triple jump at the age of 15 and an accomplished 
figure skater at national level.

Apart from meeting the Paralympians, members and guests got to know each other over dinner and had a raffle raising £180 for Wheelpower.

They also enjoyed traditional Christmas fayre as well as a poem to welcome the plum pudding!

Businesses attending included Parrott and Coales solicitors, Buckinghamshire Business First, The Archive Centre, Saunders and Dolleymore, C4T Marketing, Cannon Moorcroft Accountancy, Handelsbanken, NVQ Business Solutions and EDS Holdings.

The dinner club is a joint venture between businessmen Paul Bolton and Ian Rees.

Mr Bolton said: “We had an excellent evening which attracted directors, partners and senior managers from established and emerging businesses in the local area who want to create fresh opportunities in a relaxed dinner club atmosphere.

“It was a great way to kick off the Christmas season and we are looking forward to more events in the New Year with our themed dinners.”