On Wednesday Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England, hosted a reception in Brussels to promote the Olympic activities being staged in the East of England this summer. The event was attended by over 50 people, including representatives from 17 countries, amongst them the UK deputy ambassador to Belgium and representatives from the Greater London Authority and the EU Commission.
Wednesdays reception focused on the two Olympic events that will be happening in the Eastern region, mountain biking in Hadleigh Farm, Essex and the canoe slalom in Lee Valley, Hertfordshire, and reminded people that the legacy of the games will be felt across the region long after this summer. The evening was sponsored by GlaxoSmithkline, and guests enjoyed the opportunity to try out both mountain biking and canoeing using special simulators.
Speakers at the event included Helen Reeves, Canoe Slalom bronze medallist in the 2004 Olympics, Cllr Stephen Castle, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Education and the 2012 games, Chairman of Nations and Regions East and Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.
Speaking after the event, Mrs Ford said: " I was extremely pleased at how well-attended this event was with representatives from 17 different countries. Part of delivering a continuing legacy - especially for the mountain-biking facility - will be their ability to link up with biking enthusiasts in other countries and I hope this event will also help them form those relationships.
"The European Commission is proposing an annual budget of around £30 million a year on sporting projects and I want to see as much of that coming back to the East of England as possible. Many of the people who attended last night are now interested in forming partnerships with us locally. This means we will be well placed in order to bid for that cash.
"GlaxoSmithKline sponsored the event so that the taxpayer was spared the burden. They are not only a large employer in our region but are leading globally on many issues regarding the prevention of drug usage in sport and their laboratories in Harlow will be the centre for the Olympics' drug and doping testing."