Games raise £12,000

Organisers of a sporting event set-up to raise cash in memory of a Belper woman who died from a rare illness have presented £12,000 to good causes.

The Belper Games were held in July as a tribute to Penny Wheeler, who lost her battle with scleroderma late last year at the age of 53. The condition affects one in 10,000 people and causes the body’s immune system to attack itself.

More than 2,500 people passed through the gates of the town’s Rugby Club on the day of the Games, raising cash for the Scleroderma Society, Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust and Ataxia UK.

Now, representatives from each charity have collected their respective cheques from local MP Pauline Latham during a presentation at the rugby club.

Nick Wheeler, Penny’s husband, said: “It was a fantastic day. I was walking around with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye because I know that Penny would have loved it. We raised £18,000 on the day and it costs £6,000 to put the games on, so the rest of the money has gone to the charities.”

Mr Wheeler,54, of Beaurepaire Crescent also unveiled the exciting plans for the fund for 2014.

He added: “Ideally, what we would like is for local businesses to get in touch and sponsor the games. We want to expand it out to vintage cars, dog agility shows and that kind of thing. Belper doesn’t have another day like this. There is the food fair the week before and the town has a real buzz for those two weeks.”

Next year’s Belper Games will take place on July 19. To sponsor the event or enter a team, email thebelpergames @gmail.com.