Dame Kelly Holmes, the Double Olympic Champion and Chair of her charity the DKH Legacy Trust, was quick out of the blocks last night to launch a new programme called ‘Champion Voice’. This initiative, supported by the Central Council of Physical Recreation (CCPR) and targeted at National Governing Bodies of Sport and other sports organisations, is designed to help sport make the most of the experience and talents of retiring sports stars both at a development and strategic level.

Attending the event were representatives from the British Olympic Association, The Central Council for Physical Recreation, and National Governing Bodies of Sport as well as a range of elite sports performers, and Odgers Berndtson the UK’s pre-eminent executive search firm which has formed a partnership with the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust to support the ‘Champion Voice’ programme.

The charity, which ran the event, was set up in July 2008 by Dame Kelly, who retired from competitive athletics in 2005 after winning two Gold Medals in Athens 2004. It aims to inspire young people to find and fulfil their potential in sport or in life by using world class sports performers as role models and mentors.

Dame Kelly was launching the Champion Voice initiative as part of the DKH Legacy Trust’s Harnessing Talent programme, which aims to support the workforce of elite sports performers who give back to sport and young people as they transition to new post competition careers.

Some NGBs have already made a flying start in this work, like UK Athletics who have appointed two world class performers, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Jason Gardener to their board.

Ed Warner, Chair of UK Athletics said: “The appointment of Tanni and Jason to our board has provided a critical insight and perspective to the strategic direction and operation of UK Athletics. Their involvement means our sport stays on track, focused on making the right decisions for everyone, from the grass roots performer right through to the world class team....their input is invaluable.”

Among the other National Governing Bodies of Sport who attended the Champion Voice event are: British Rowing, The Amateur Swimming Association, England Netball, England Hockey, and British Canoe Union as wells as sports organisations like Street Games who have recently been appointed as a national partner to Sport England.

Dame Kelly Holmes, who is playing a strategic role in sport herself as President of Commonwealth Games England said: “We are heading into an amazing decade of sport in this country and I really believe that elite sports performers have more of a role to play in the sporting system. I am delighted to see so many National Governing Bodies here today, thinking about how they can harness the talents of their top performers to enhance their sport at every level.”

Sir Andrew Foster, Chair Commonwealth Games England said: “We are delighted to be working with Dame Kelly Holmes as President of Commonwealth Games England and her charity, the DKH Legacy Trust to explore ways that we can continue to make the most of world class performers within Commonwealth Games England. We have already seen the impact of our recent appointment of world class sports performers like Dame Kelly and Lawrence Dallaglio to our board. The skills and experience they have gained throughout their career as elite competitors provides a unique perspective, which has already enhanced our work right across CGE”.

Ian Odgers, of Odgers Berndtson said “We are delighted to be supporting the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust. By providing practical support to the elite sports performers, through programmes like our Non Executive Director training, we are playing our role in ensuring that these world class sport stars start to make their mark not only on the track, in the pool, or on the pitch, but in the boardroom as well ”.

All journalists and photographers attending must notify the event organisers in advance. Spokespeople including Dame Kelly Holmes are available on request.
Please contact: Louise Wolsey, Communications Director, DKH Legacy Trust:
M: 07501729673 E: [email protected]
Or James Robinson, Communications Assistant: [email protected] Tel: 02077438600
Notes for Editors:
• For more information please visit: www.dkhlegacytrust.org
• About The Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust: The DKH Legacy Trust inspires young people to find and fulfil their potential in sport or in life through a workforce of elite sports performers. The Trust supports young people to participate, stay in and excel in sport and helps disadvantaged young people to find and believe in their own talents.
Elite sports performers who will be attending
• Anna Hemmings – Kayaking - Britain’s leading female marathon canoeist, a two time Olympian and 6 times World Champion.
• Toby Garbett – Rowing - Twice a World champion, Toby has returned to the GB rowing squad after taking a year off following the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where he finished seventh in the men's pair
• Jayant Mistry - Wheelchair Tennis - During his 20 year career he played in approximately 250 singles and doubles finals, claiming 68 international titles (20 singles and 48 doubles titles) on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, with his most famous being the 2005 Wheelchair Men’s Doubles Championship at Wimbledon in 2005.
• Francesca Jus-Burke – Rowing - In 2005, she was in the first British Women’s Quadruple scull to medal at a Junior Championship. She competed in numerous high-profile regattas, including taking gold at Amsterdam International Regatta in 2006
• Purdy Miller - Hockey -Purdy Miller represented Great Britain at European and World Cups and Olympic Qualifiers. She is now working as a Performance Lifestyle Advisor at ECB.
• Matt Kidd-Swimming: a two time Olympian and Silver Medallist in Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 as part of the 4x100 Medley relay team, which also broke the British Record.