A trust to support Wanganui's future champions to progress to the elite level in their chosen sport will be launched during the Aon Billy Webb Challenge weekend in December.
Wanganui District Councillor Philippa Baker-Hogan, the driver of the Future Champions Trust, is organising a fundraising dinner as part of the Billy Webb weekend of events.
"The Aon Billy Webb event provides a great opportunity to hold a dinner that not only showcases four out of five of New Zealand's London Olympics rowing champions but also looks to the future of elite sport," Cr Baker-Hogan said.
"The Future Champions Trust will be launched at the dinner on Friday, December 7. The dinner is a fundraiser, with 100 per cent of the funds to become the seed funding for the Future Champions Trust. The trust will support Wanganui's next tier of champions to progress to the elite level in their chosen sport."
London 2012 rowing gold medallists Mahe Drysdale, Eric Murray, Nathan Cohen and Joe Sullivan, as well as the other key competitors in this year's Aon Billy Webb Challenge, will attend the dinner. The MC will be James McOnie of Sky TV, Prime and The Crowd Goes Wild, with Drysdale the guest speaker for the evening.
There will be entertainment by New Zealand Smokefree Rockquest finalists Culture Kids.
The evening will also be an opportunity to celebrate Wanganui's own Olympians and Paralympians.
"Wanganui District Council wants to acknowledge the Olympians and Paralympians from our district and the Future Champions dinner has been selected as an appropriate event at which to celebrate their achievements," Cr Baker-Hogan said.
"It's going to be a fantastic event where we can recognise the successes of some of New Zealand's sporting elite but also help to pave the way for our local champions of the future.
"I encourage all of Wanganui's sporting clubs and organisations to support this event to celebrate Wanganui's Olympians and support our future champions.
"The community will also have the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our local Olympians and Paralympians at the Aon Billy Webb event on Sunday, December 9."
The Future Champions Dinner will be held at the War Memorial Hall at 7pm on Friday, December 7. Tickets cost $68 per person and are available from the Wanganui i-SITE Visitor Centre on Taupo Quay.
Wanganui District Council and Wanganui.com are supporting the 2012 Aon Billy Webb event.
Aon Billy Webb Challenge
Friday, December 7: 5pm at City Marina - Lion Foundation Wildcard Sprints featuring New Zealand rowing squad 7pm at War Memorial Hall - Billy Webb Future Champions Fundraising Dinner
Saturday, December 8: 7.30am Aramoho rowing course - Aon Jury Cup Regatta NZCT Corporate Eights heats during Jury Cup Regatta
Sunday, December 9: 9am - Aon Billy Webb Challenge, starts Aramoho rowing course; finishes City Marina NZCT Corporate Eights finals