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Fundraiser for CI Athletes

(From left) Bruce Dinwiddy, John Owen, Kaitlyn Elphinstone, Lizzie Haines, Felix Francis, Graham Brady MP, and Mary Chandler-Allen.

Friends of Cayman in London hosted an event at the House of Commons, Westminster on Thursday 18 March to raise funds for Cayman Islands athletes who will be attending the Island Games, to be held in the Isle of Wight in summer 2011.

The fundraising event took the form of a Dinner and Auction in the Members Dining Room. The sponsoring MP was Graham Brady, Secretary of the Cayman Islands All Party Parliamentary Group, and the Auctioneer was Felix Francis, son of the late Dick Francis, a long-term resident of Grand Cayman.

The 80 guests were drawn from membership of Friends of Cayman and included representatives from legal and accountancy firms, banking, construction/development, shipping, PR and tourism. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of dining in such historic surroundings. Graham Brady MP welcomed the guests to the Houses of Parliament in a short address. John Owen, Chairman of Friends of Cayman, was the host for the evening. He read out a message of appreciation from Richard Parchment, Chairman of the CI Island Games Association, which also provided some background information about the Island Games Association and Cayman's involvement in the Games. He explained that as a result of exposure at this level of competition, some athletes will go on to compete in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. Mr Owen thanked staff of the London Office for their work in organising the event.

There were a number of young people present who had participated in previous Island Games; Lizzy Haines and Kaitlyn Elphinstone told the guests how much it meant to them to be able to participate in the Games, to broaden horizons, to work towards a goal, put in their best performance and above all to be part of a team representing Cayman.

Thereafter the Auction got under way and bidding was brisk. There were six auction items and Felix Francis did a splendid job of encouraging and cajoling the guests to pledge their support. It is anticipated that the total sum raised from the event will be in the region of 18,000 (circa CI$ 22,000).

Commenting after the event John Owen said, "This has been a most successful evening. The amount of money raised has exceeded my expectations and I am most grateful to all the Friends of Cayman and their guests, who so generously supported this event. In my role as a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Isle of Wight I look forward to welcoming the Cayman Islands Games team to the Isle of Wight in 2011."

Auction items were provided by Felix Francis, Carol Owen MBE, Shane Aquart, Caybrew, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and Cayman Airways.