Jake & Mike’s Motorbike Adventure

Lads End Selfie

Lads End Selfie

Rollapaluza’s top MC Jake ( the good looking one) isn’t always slaving away at the ‘ Mahatma Gandhi ‘ trading estate, or enthusiastically shouting encouragement at Rollapaluza racers to assist them in improving their times, Occasionally he is allowed out to pursue one of his favourite pastimes, riding motorcycle.
Quick break

Quick break

Over the Bank Holiday weekend Jake and his mate Mike decided to ride from ‘ John O Groats’ to ‘Lands End’ in 48 hours, the pair left at 12.00hrs on the Saturday and arrived in ‘ Lands End’ at 12.00hrs on the Monday.
Quick break

Quick break

Mike and Jake decided to set up a just giving page, in the hope of raising some funds for their chosen charity ‘Mind’ for better mental health.
Where to go next?

Where to go next?

Link to just giving page….Thank You
Just Giving Page

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A Memorial to Wayne

Goodbye Wayne.

Recently we lost our biggest personal supporter, Wayne Peach. Wayne will need no introduction to hundreds, maybe thousands of London cyclists and even if you never met him, you may well be aware of his presence through his work; design. Great design which he offered for free to countless small businesses, clubs and community groups.

Wayne approached us, he liked what we did, saw something he believed in and crucially spotted we knew nothing of design or presentation. He created our whole identity, really everything,  not just what you see in the creation of our logo, event posters, club kit and equipment but long chats, sometimes in person, sometimes in email, about how to present Rollapaluza and ourselves and Wayne was always right. We were mostly wrong. He did so much for us, almost always refusing to be paid and playing his magic trick of not making you feel in debt.

This isn’t a testimonial to his work, that would be odd, but in life and in work he was the same “do it right” was the unspoken mantra to everything he did, and he did it right for us on so many occasions, in work and in life.

Few people get to leave a genuine legacy, but Wayne is one of the few, he will be forever remembered by the many hundreds of people touched by his generosity and kindness and every time one of us sees a logo he created, a website he helped or an illustration he drew, we will remember the big man who will truly live on in the hearts and minds of all who were lucky enough to meet him.

The following gallery of Wayne’s flyers show how he blurred the line between work and play, nearly all of these were done in support of grass roots events that we all enjoyed. He was incredibly generous with his ideas and invested what seemed like a huge amount of himself into each and every project on which we worked together.

Caspar will miss his regular chat’s which frequently turned from work subjects into hearty discussions about one of their mutually favourite subjects, music. In fact, Wayne named Caspar’s current band Scorcha late last year.

Wayne will be sorely missed by all of us.


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Stop Killing Cyclists-Die In

Paul Burgoine went along to the Stop Killing Cyclists vigil outside the offices of Transport For London on Friday evening and here are his thoughts and observations.


The group that petitions for safer cycling in the capital held there annual ‘Die In’ and this year had 21 white coffins to represent people that had been killed of the capitals streets.


There were many speakers at the event and some wonderful singing in memory of the lost by Ted Browne, but for me there was one speaker who without being political said it all, Belgian National Deborah Willemen, here is that address she made to the crowd with her son along side her.

Belgian mother and cyclist Deborah Willemen

Belgian mother and cyclist Deborah Willemen

“ Three months ago I arrived in London with my children from Belgium, three weeks later I was hit on a cycle path on a busy road by a driver, I was riding a 100k cargo bike at the time, bike bike got pushed on its side and I was thrown off luckily I didn’t have my children with me at the time and I came out of the accident with only a few bruises, today I stand here before you lucky to be alive, in the three months I have been cycling here I can not count the number of near misses, the “sorry I didn’t see you “ comments and the verbal abuse from some drivers.

Scarlett Brady-Hughes read the name's of the 21 cyclists

Scarlett Brady-Hughes reads the name’s of the 21 cyclists

The Die In

The Die In

All I want to do is cycle safely with my children from A to B, the school run, shopping and once in a while a cycling adventure, women cyclists are outnumbered on the roads by men three to one, and men cycle four time more than women, however…out of the eight cycling deaths this year six of then were women, so I’m standing here today to tell the decision makers enough is enough I do not want to come here to a die in and cry out and mourn for those lost on these streets, but as long as people lose their lives over here I have no choice, this is why I among many women and mothers demand proper segregated cycle routes so we can get on with our lives without the daily fear of being run over, we do not want to become another statistic and a new name on the next die in list, our lives are precious its about time TFL and policy makers start realising the same”

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London Poppy Race

Lamb Taven
It was with great pleasure that we were at the forefront of London Poppy Day with the Royal British Legion at Leadenhall Market, with our specially branded rigs for the ‘Poppy Race Challenge’ it was a busy day with a fantastic atmosphere in an iconic setting,and right outside ‘The Lamb Tavern’ very handy.

LPR kids
We had over fifty participants all cheered on by an enthusiastic Leadenhall Market crowd.

cheering LPD

The star guests on the day were players from Fulham FC, Jack Grimmer on the bike and Marcus Betilinni.

LPR Fulham
LPR Army

LPR Lady

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Koppenbergcross 2015

This gallery contains 16 photos.

The Koppenbercross has always been one of my favorite events so its a must on my list, so awake at 2.30 a quick sleep on the ferry, a day wandering around a field littered with cow dung in blazing sunshine … Continue reading

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Matt & Thomas Rotherham At The London 6 Day

Matthew Rotherham has been a Rollapaluza regular since 2008 and since then won other Rollapaluza competitions including our National Series and runner up in our Keirin 2014 Manchester. This week he was joined by his younger brother Thomas at the Olympic Velodrome where the ‘London 6 Day’ was making its long awaited return to the track racing calendar, we went to watch the pair in action and had a few words with the brothers from Bolton.

Matt takes a win

Matt takes a win

Thomas and Matt have been given the nicknames ‘Bull’ and ‘Legs’ respectively Thomas picked up his nickname for his apparent aggressive riding style and Matt for all the leg work in the gym, an aspiring Robert Forsterman.

Thomas laying down the power

Thomas laying down the power

How have you both enjoyed your London 6 Day experience?

Bull… ” Oh it’s been incredible the noise and crowd atmosphere just drives you on even when you have tired legs, I’ve only done one before in Bremen, Germany a lot different to this a shorter track and a later start, so to race on the tracks we are used to is much better and we can put a good show”

Sprinter showmen

Sprinter showmen

Legs… ” It’s great to be here in London I’ve done two six days before in Germany, buts it’s nice to be back on a track we know and put in some good performances and provide quality entertainment, we try and race as hard as we can but enjoy it, we hope that comes across to the audience and viewers, I’ve had a camera on my bike just a add a different view to the pictures”



What has it been like racing together this week Matt?

Legs… ” Yeah it’s been good, we train together, most of our races are together apart from the junior stuff so being invited here to race together is brilliant”



Is it your aim to beat your big brother Thomas?

Bull… ” Aim to beat him? I already beat him this week, first time in a proper race, I’m always chasing him in training and in the races, hopefully I will get past his level and start beating him someday, but for the moment I have to deal with the fact his the the faster one and keep trying to take his crown”

The boys in the DJ Booth

The boys in the DJ Booth

How about the GB team and the Olympic’s ?

Legs… ” So this is a crucial time for the British they are formulating a team, at the end of last year they felt I didn’t have the potential, but I feel I’m making steps towards hopefully being able to challenge for a place again, getting faster and stronger, faster acceleration while riding, so hopefully they will see that whether or not that’s in time for Rio who knows? I don’t know, it’s such a short time till then, but I’m looking forward to Tokyo and I will try my utmost hardest to get there”

Bull… ” I’m still young so I still have plenty of time, right now the door is wide open for me, I have one or two areas I have to improve on, I know I can do this in the next year or so, I’m not really worried about my cycling, I know I got what it takes, unfortunately at the moment British Cycling don’t see it that way, but I’m going to show them next year”

Matt gets the crowd going

Matt gets the crowd going

All the sprinters at the event put on a great show providing some fantastic entertainment and I’m sure the ‘Bolton Brothers’ have shown they are a force to be reckoned with on the world stage.

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Pennine Trail (West)

Ok the challenge was to go to Hadfield (Royston Vasey), where they filmed the legendary ‘League of Gentlemen’ Leaving from Ladybarn,Manchester and intending on following the National Cycle Route 62, that incorporates the ‘Pennine Trail’ sounds simple Hey!…Well it’s not, I found getting to Stockport easy along the Mersey on a new laid and signposted cycle path, but then that was where the problems began, after going round in circles for a while I opted for a route through Stockport, twinned with Beziers almost like polar opposites, it was where I had to ask the first of many people directions, this being one of the days positives the helpfulness of the ‘Locals’ was amazing and given the theme of the day I opened every conversation with “Are you local?”
I eventually got on a cycle path from Stockport to Marple then asked to way to Glossop and if anyone knows this area, you go up a steep hill then down a steep hill then up the steep hill in front of you, which was fine but heading what I thought was Hadfield I ended up back where I started, so it was up more steep hills.



I eventually made it to the unremarkable Hadfield and was completely underwhelmed, which I suppose is the point, the reason they chose the town, the feeling that you would never leave if you were here it was for life, I got that….I did purchase some local Parkin Cake that was gorgeous and boosted my energy levels.
I took a few photos that fans of the show will recognise alas there was no ‘special stuff’ on the menu today.

No Special Stuff

No Special Stuff

Once Here You May Never Leave

Once Here You May Never Leave

As would be the theme of the day I went the wrong way out of Hadfield but carried on along the Pennine Trail route beside the three reservoirs towards the Woodhead Pass.
The Longdendale chain of reservoirs that extend 10km from Hadfield to Padfield designed by Frederick Bateman (1810-89) and when completed in 1877 formed the largest body of man made water in the world, and Europe’s first major conservation scheme, this a a fantastic cycle friendly route but as per usual the signage finished and it was then that I gave up and decided to head back to Manchester hoping that the NCR62 would be easier to navigate in reverse, it was promising at first but then I came up against a brick wall again so had to retake the hilly route back to Marple.
Once I made it to Stockport I was lucky enough to bump into two road men, and caught a lift on there wheel back to Manchester.

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MTN-Qhubeka’s Tour Of London

There isn’t much you can write about a crit in the West End of London, in fact the racing was secondary to the mass of colour displayed around the circuit by hundreds of Eritrean fans.


They had come out in support of MTN-Qhubeka and in particular Daniel Teklehaimanot.
Daniel’s fans were not disapointed he spent lap after lap on the front bringing back the break and protecting leader Edvald Boasson Hagen.

The ‘Gorilla’ Andre Greipel won the stage, but as Daniel rode back to the team bus high fiveing everyone it was as if he had won, with only Sir Bradley being more popular.
Everywhere Daniel was, there were his country folk cheering him on.
Ouside the MTN-Qhubeka bus there was a party going on.
It was a tight squeeze in the team bus area with fans directing the traffic.
Unfortunatly he never came out of the team bus but did sign lots of things for the fans while in the bus.

Photos; Paul Burgoine

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Rollapaluza Needs You!

Needs You Glasses

Rollapaluza is still looking for casual crew for our events. 

A willingness to engage with members of the public from all backgrounds and enthusiasm for cycling and the event helps! Work varies but in general is reasonably physical with most events within and around the London area.

The events themselves range from corporate events (promo and internal usually) to school and community work. 

Rates start at £8.80/h with a minimum 6 hours per event. If you are 21 or over and have held a full driving licence for more than a year there is potential to earn more in a Team Leader role.

With events covering morning noon and night any day of the week, it is a fun and varied opportunity that can fit alongside other part or full time work.

If you are interested, please email: jacob@rollapaluza.com

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Stop Killing Cyclists – Bank Die in

Last night I (Caspar) and my partner (Cassie) attended the Die In protest at Bank Junction. I have cycled in London for twenty years, ten years as a cycle courier. My partner has been commuting daily by bike for the last two years. I have seen many changes to central London, the biggest was the implementation of the congestion charge. Change is difficult for a lot of people to accept but when there is no choice but to accept it, change happens.


The last two Die In protests, set up by the Stop Killing Cyclists groups have happened on my route to my workshop, in Camberwell and on Cassie’s route to work. I have been thinking hard about these unnecessary deaths, I would love London to be a safe place for my daughter to cycle and currently it isn’t safe enough. It is, however, safer than it has ever been for cyclists.

The infrastructure as it is for cyclists, will not stop cyclists or other vulnerable road users from being killed as it mixes traffic of different speeds and vulnerability on streets not designed for this mix. Nearly all of the infrastructure in London is designed for motor vehicles, obviously it is build on infrastructure designed for horse and carts and then tarmacked for cyclists briefly before motor vehicles took over._MG_5855

London is a fantastic city, city planners should realise that creating motor free areas will help the economy of the city, like it has in other European cities. Cars take up a lot of room, especially when they are carrying one person. Oxford St is the busiest shopping street in Europe, the most polluted and has three junctions that are statistically very dangerous for people.

There are simple remedies for all of these problems, they lie with not demonising any group of people, but changing the infrastructure and make people realise it is for the better. A traffic free Oxford St would have much lower levels of pollution, more people would visit the shops and fewer people would die from ‘shopping in the West End’. Bank, where the Die In took place last night, would benefit from being pedestrianised, it is in the heart of the richest square mile in the world and at peak times a third of the traffic through the junction is cyclists. If they were in cars it would be even more chaotic than it already is. Bank underground station is having a £500 million refit, above the ground there has been no money spent on the junction to improve it for vulnerable traffic and no-where near that amount for cycling infrastructure in London let alone at one difficult junction. There are roads everywhere around this junction, bypassing it by vehicle is easy, closing it to motor vehicles would allow the workers that run our economy safe passage to work. As it happens their employers are keen on the idea, nine of the ten largest city employers want proper provision made for their staff’s commute.

I think there is a long term solution to travelling around our city, which coincides with a view that there is a lot of our city that is there to be enjoyed, not just travelled through. This solution includes a change of infrastructure to protect vulnerable road users and give them more space. No matter how much training you give drivers, they are human and will make mistakes and sometimes these mistakes will kill people. The best way to deal with this is to segregate traffic, pedestrians, cyclists and motor-vehicles should all have their own ‘roads’. This approach works well in Holland, where they started redesigning their infrastructure to protect the vulnerable in the 1970’s.IMG_3504

In the short term, there needs to be changes to stop cyclists being killed. We all have a right to get to work safely where possible. From what I see the biggest change for the smallest action would be to stop LGV’s (HGV’s) from operating during rush hours. These lorries are primarily designed for carrying large capacities, they are not designed to be driven around vulnerable traffic. Seven of the nine fatalities in London this year have been from LGV’s during rush hour. Restricting their movement during peak commuting hours works in other cities, Paris for example, why won’t it work here. I understand London is different and larger but are these reasons for a restriction not to work? Surely a Nurse has as much right to get to her job alive as a aggregate does to a new build. The reason I pick nurse beacuse recently the NHS has lost more staff to LGV related deaths than any other employer.IMG_3536

It looks like the mainstream press in London has turned a corner, more and more of them are stopping blaming the victims and are starting to portray people who cycle (to work) in a positive way. More cyclists means fewer vehicles, which means more space and less stress for the vehicles that are left.

All photo’s © Selim Korycki

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We Need You !

Hi all

Rollapaluza are entering their busy summer period and are looking for casual crew for our events. 

A willingness to engage with members of the public from all backgrounds and enthusiasm for cycling and the event helps! Work varies but is in general is reasonably physical with most events within and around the London area.

The events themselves range from corporate events (promo and internal usually) to school and community work. 

Rates start at £8.80/h with a minimum 6 hours per event. If you are 21 or over and have held a full driving licence for more than a year there is potential to earn more in a Team Leader role.

If you are interested, please email: jacob@rollapaluza.com

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International Women’s Day

To celebrate ‘International Women’s Day’ we headed down to York Hall, Bethnal Green for an event arranged by Tower Hamlets #forthegirls a women’s and girl’s sports initiative, inspiring women to become involved and play sport.

Jade Johnson

Jade Johnson

We were extremely privileged to have Olympian ‘Jade Johnson’ in attendance, Jade’s specialist event is the long jump,surprisingly she is allergic to sand, which must prove difficult.
Rollapaluza International Womens Week 2015-44

In 2009 Jade partnered Ian Waite on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ unfortunately having to pull out of the competition after injuring her knee.

Great Time 24.30

Great Time 24.30

We did persuade Jade to race on our rigs in York Hall and she recorded a very respectable time 24.30, faster than GB cyclist Lizzie Armitstead.

For The Girls

For The Girls

For more information check out Twitter @forthegirlsLDN

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Laura Trott Matrix-Pro-Cycling At Revolution London

It was Laura Trott’s first outing for the new Matrix-Pro-Cycling team at the 5th Round of the Revolution Series in London and we went along to have a chat with her about her new team.

Laura won the elimination race with relative ease from Emily Kay and Spanish rider Leire Olaberria, to rapturous applause, there is no doubt she is the golden girl of British Cycling.

Good way to start your career with Matrix-Pro-Cycling Laura.

” Yeah not bad also first race on my new Rourke bike as well, it handles a bit differently so took a bit of getting used too, the first few little sprints I was like Wooo! but once I got settled it was nice”

Getting the set up right on the Rourke

Getting the set up right on the Rourke

It was a pretty straight forward win for you ?

” Yes it was nice, good I liked it, the younger girls are coming through now Emily Kay was pretty impressive in that race, she is so strong”

How do you feel about riding for matrix-Pro-Cycling?

” Oh yeah I really like it, this team are looking to develop women’s cycling in the long term, for a start Matrix sponsor the women’s Tour Series, the biggest series in this country, joining this team gives me a chance to give something back to the sport, I had so many people who influenced my career when I was growing up, I just want to do that for the new kids coming through and for me Matrix are the best team for me that want to achieve that, also being based in the UK helps my track programme. Stefan Wyman just wants British Cycling to grow especially women’s cycling, and I just want to be a part of it with him”
It must also be a help that Elinor Barker came over as well.

” Yes because I actually made the decision to leave Wiggle/Honda and she was a bit indecisive, but when she made her mind up it was nice because its always good to have a friendly face, someone you know, we train together and travel to lots of meeting so it helps to have a close friend”
Have you many road races in your calendar?

” No not really, obviously I want to do my bit for the team, I would like to do as much as I can, but it does make me a bit nervous though, I always say I don’t enjoy its but its not that… it just freeks the hell out of me, from 24 people on the track to 240 on the road its completely different, and I just don’t want to put my life in that many peoples hands”

It must be great for Lucy Shaw to have an experienced rider like you in the team.

” Well yes but I’m only 22 myself so I don’t want to call myself a mentor as such, but anything I can do to help her or any of the younger riders then yes I want to help, I had that myself, I was fortunate that I had my sister Emma turn professional before I did so I had the opportunity to speak with her”
You say you’re only 22 but thats the sort of age when women riders have to make the decision whether to continue in this career or not.

” I was lucky because I came through the track programme, but in terms of the road girls its a time when you have either made it or you haven’t, and you may decide to give up and pursue another career, but I think its a lot better now there are more teams out there who are bringing on the young girls and funding the people at that age, when they are at their limit and don’t if to quit or not, bit like Lucy Martin she didn’t know where to go, I was so glad she joined Matrix, I done a few races with her when I was younger out in Belgium and she was just so nice and welcoming, it was great to have that so its nice we are back together again”

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Matrix Pro Cycling Team Launch 2015

This year Stefan Wyman and his British based team are joining the Pro-Ranks and competing against the best in Europe, this is a massive step for the team and women’s cycling in this country, I attended the team launch and got some reactions from Stefan and the riders apart from Laura Trott who seemed so rushed off her feet, with all the attention so I thought I wouldn’t add to it.
There was a very special guest at the launch ‘Shut Up legs’ Jens Voigt and the Jensie selfie was very popular.

Stefan Wyman (Director Sportive)

“ This is a very exciting step up for us, we have been dipping into pro races for the past years, a few one day races and a couple of stage races, but to be constantly going to these events is huge for us, when you look at our schedule for February and March its quite daunting really. The first few weeks though we just want to develop as a team and find our feet, but hope to be going well by the end of March/April, I think the first big challenge for us will be the ‘Women’s Tour’ then hopefully helping Laura defend her British title on the Lincoln course, We are lucky to have riders like Lucy Martin and Laura Trott on the team, and I’m sure Lucy’s experience will help some of the less experienced riders on the team, but I want her getting back to stepping up onto the podium and I know she can be a consistently good rider on the world scene. The team have a fantastic set of supportive sponsors Matrix, Miltag, Vulpine, Skoda and some new ones Hollywood Monster, Yellow Jersey and Trek whose bikes are absolutely fantastic, and we hope to do everyone proud”

I asked the riders what they felt about joining Matrixprocycling for the 2015/16 season

Lucy Martin

Lucy Martin

Lucy Martin

“ I’m now one of the oldest and most experienced riders on this team, which feels quite weird, I stared speaking to Stefan at the end of the year and when he said he was putting together a British UCI team, I thought why not, I have been on so many different European teams coming back to a British one with British sponsors was a opportunity I couldn’t let go , and its great to be back here and just remember what its like to be British again, its just great. Stefan has been so supportive and I feel I already owe him, I had an awful year in 2014 and I just didn’t enjoy my cycling, even found myself questioning why am I doing this? Stefan hasn’t put any pressure on me he just wants for me to get back to where I was, it might be a slow progress but having that support and being part of a strong team is just what I need right now”
Jessie Walker & Mel Lowther

Jessie Walker

“ I’m really excited about the season, i’ve been racing for four years now and feel i’ve developed and ready to take the next step up any earlier or any later would be the wrong time for me so this is perfect, like I said earlier I’ve been with the team a long time so that make’s the progression a lot smoother into the pro ranks, I hope to gain a lot of experience from the early season and be on form for the ‘Women’s Tour’ but all in all this year will be a great experience so I just want to take it all in”

Harriet Owen

Harriet Owen

Harriet Owen

“ I feel like I have been in the right place at the right time as regard Matrix, all this was quite unexpected, I have to take this year as it comes and enjoy the experience, last season was a big change for me being paid to ride my bike, so this is another step up the ladder, Its great to just doing you training and go home although now I have just began a ‘Open University’ course so I have something else to focus on.
I’ve done a rece of our first race ‘Omloop Het Nieuwsblad’ on Saturday and feeling just a bit nervous after seeing what is facing us , although there is no pressure on the team so it will be just a case of getting our name out there”

Lucy Shaw

“ This is a big step up for me as a junior but there is no pressure on me and the opportunity to ride with Matrixprocycling is very exciting, I can learn from all the other girls, they have so much more experience than me, once I finish my ‘A’ levels I hope to get out to France and Belgium to race there and build on my knowledge , but my aim for the season is to perform well in the Women’s Series”

Team Selfie

Team Selfie

Penny Rowson

“ I have already had a great time with this team, 2012 was fantastic, then I had a period away when I didn’t ride too much, but rejoining the team has been fantastic Stefan has shown a lot of belief in me and got me back to where I am now, last year riding the ‘Women’s Tour’ with Matrix was really special everyone coming to England and the crowds of support, its kind of where I got my love for cycling back, I then thought this is my job and passion, now this year I have a new coach and he has given me the tools and opportunity to be the best I can without putting me under too much pressure, its up to me now and could be a make or break year, It was great to meet ‘Jensie’ today and he told me to enjoy the racing and the atmosphere, but also to explore all the places we visit and take in the culture and the different surroundings, basically to enjoy the experience”

Laura & Mel

Laura & Mel

Molly Weaver

“ This is massively exciting prospect moving up to UCI level with the team, Stef has set up a great structure for us and I think it should be very good, having a long term plan is fantastic we are all young riders and it will give us a chance to grow as a team, there comes a point when you need to take a plunge and fully commit to your sport and now is a great time to do that in women’s cycling and hopefully as a team we can grow with it and it will pay off in the long run, this whole season is going to be a big learning curve and hopefully it will set us up for things to come”

Elinor Barker

“ Stefs understanding of my track program and the priorities I have have been fantastic and that means a great deal to me, I think he is one of the rare DS’s where he is very hands on but all his priorities are in the right place and wants to promote women’s cycling, but doesn’t forget about the racing in the process because ultimately thats why we are all here”

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Sports Journalist Association Question Time

SJA Question Time

Clive Efford MP Labour
Helen Grant MP Conservative
John Leech MP Liberal
Chair… David Walker SJA

We were invited to a question time type debate with the above mentioned MP’s in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House, Rollapaluza did submit a question put forward by Jason Falconer, unfortunately it was the final question and never got answered, apart from in a roundabout way via another question.
Portcullis House is the first addition this century to the Parliamentary Estate, the complex of buildings centred on the Palace of Westminster which provide a working space and facilities for members of both Houses of Parliament and their staff, the building was opened in 2001 by Her majesty the Queen.

L to R Clive Efford, Helen Grant, David Walker, John Leach

L to R Clive Efford, Helen Grant, David Walker, John Leach

As you would expect with politicians never give too much away, but here is a selection of Q&A’s from the evening.

(Q) Will you maintain the same ratio of money invested in grass roots and elite sports in the next government?

JL; “ Its a slightly unfair question before we publish our manifesto, sports funding is incredibly important to us, grass roots and elite, there has to be more commitment from the likes of the Premier League to put money back into grass roots sport. I think too much time is spent on statistics, the main thing is keeping people fit and active, the biggest problem we have is inactivity”

HG; “ I will always,always champion investment in sport because its not just about health and fitness but the confidence and self esteem it can give people, life lessons …team work, leadership, discipline and respect “

CE; “ I think yes from the areas that come from the lottery but I can’t sit here and say or know what money I will get from Ed Balls if he becomes chancellor, but I would commit to fighting for investment because there is a growing concern for inactivity, that needs to be addressed so if your looking long term there will be consequences for the economy and health services. The elite level has a role to play stimulating interest in sport and as the Olympics showed it can be an economic driver as well, but we need to get cross government co-operation to maximise the funding we’ve got”

Portcullis House (Left)

Portcullis House (Left)

DW; Were you alarmed in the post Olympics that we are seeing sports like swimming having fewer people participating at grass roots level?

CE; “ Well yes I think participation has flatlined, there is a lot more we can do I think it was an absolutely dreadful decision by the government to take the 162million out of Schools Sports Partnerships, it sent everything into reverse at a key moment when we should have been building on the momentum , Hugh Robinson said himself that he would build on schools partnerships but his legs were taken out from under him by a non co-ordinated government in my opinion, so it is tragic whats happening in areas like swimming, one in three children leaving primary school unable to swim 25m , there are things we can do around that, for instance a survey by the ASA a few years ago showed that the down time for swimming baths is the period straight after school finish times, so it doesn’t take much to work out if we want more children to swim why don’t we try and fill that time, it just needs better co-ordination and I don’t think this government has shown any will to do that”

HG; “ Two issues there, swimming and participation figures, first of all swimming I have met very recently with the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association ) and Sport England, the ASA Know they need to step things up, I was disappointed with the figures, swimming is a great sport and as a country we are good at it, its affordable for most and there are plenty of pools near where people live, I am confident we will see improvement on the swimming figures. On the point of participation generally I think we have a really good news story to tell here, since the Olympics we have 6million more people doing more sports 650,000 more women 240,000 people with disabilities thats good, but it certainly isn’t flatlining we are also seeing more 16-25 year olds doing sport record numbers, so I don’t accept what Clive has to say”

(Q) Has there been enough to be done to tackle racism in sport football in particular ?

JL: “I think we have made massive in roads and the difference in level of racism from 30 years ago is much improved but we must continue to keep our efforts going,there just a small minority of idiots in and outside grounds ruining things for everyone”

CE; “I think there is danger in criticising all chelsea fans for a few, I would say you would be hard pressed to find any other organisation than football that challenge’s racism in our communities I don’t see a time when we can stop challenging it, I don’t think we have enough black football managers/coaches or boardroom members in this country and this needs to change, there are only two black managers at the moment so that needs looking at to reflect the amount of black players on the pitch, Football or any other sport doesn’t make people racist its something society has to challenge and I think football has done an awful lot .The people on the paris metro let us all down, even our country”

HG; “I would echo what Clive said I was disgusted at the images, its inexcusable I can not tell you the damage it does, we need zero tolerance, the seniors from the club were distraught they moved swiftly. We are not there yet, some would say that the lack of black managers/coaches could be seen as racism I think this is really important, I have heard of some good practice in the past years and some black coaches and women intact are coming through the system”

(Q) DW; In America they have the ‘Rooney Rule’ which insists that a percentage of black/ethnic candidates for coaching or management are shortlisted, would you all support that in British sport?

CE; “ I would hope British sport could deal with it themselves if not you would have to look at something like the Rooney Rule if sport is refusing to shift, but I wouldn’t rule it out if there was no progress”

HG; “ I also believe we need balance in society and we need people from all backgrounds knocking at the door for all top jobs, not just in football and actually getting the jobs, but if these programs don’t work then maybe we do need some legislation”

JL; “ Yes I would support it “

(Q) Should the next government criminalise doping in sport

JL ; “They should consider it sport is big business and you have to discourage the cheating that has gone on”

CE; “ Easy said, but hard to apply in law, its how you make it stick and it looks like it could be difficult but the principal is right, we need to be at the cutting edge of catching these people, its how you prove the crime, its a complex thing to get into law”

HG; “ I think the integrity of sport is paramount it goes to the heart of sport , cheats need to know they will be punished ,I don’t think legislation is the best way forward we need a multi agency approach and more athlete information and education”

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