MORE than 100 Isle of Wight sportsmen and women, together with musicians, performers and people from charities and good causes, gathered in Newport, in an event organised by their sponsors, Wightlink.

The annual event at Quay Arts brought together many of the individuals and groups who have benefited from discounted travel. 

“It was a treat to chat over coffee and cake with lots of the Islanders we sponsor,” said Phil Delaney, Wightlink's commercial director recently. 

“We support many people who need to travel throughout the country and further afield to compete or perform, so we always like to catch up with them and find out what’s been happening over the past year.” 

Ryde Rowing Club have received support from Wightlink (formerly Sealink) since 1987.
Steve Cook, of Ryde Rowing Club, said: “Wightlink help us with our travel to regattas on the mainland, particularly during the summer season, so we’re very grateful. 

"We were the first club Wightlink supported, so we’re really proud and pleased we’ve had this relationship for so long.” 

Dean Terrett, founder and chairman of charity, Wight Search and Rescue (SAR), added: “We’re really grateful for the generosity and help they’ve given over the past year. 

Wight SAR look for vulnerable missing people on the Isle of Wight. We have about 30 volunteers who give up their time to help bring people home safely.” 

Julie Cooper, of the Wightlink Wight Mountain Cycle Race Team, said the regional road race event this year would not have happened without the support of Wightlink. 

"With their sponsorship we were able to attract more than 150 cyclists and supporters from the mainland to take part and enjoy racing on our fantastic roads.” 

This year, there were also representatives from organisations including Aspire Ryde, Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Ability Dogs 4 Young People IoW, West Wight Arts Association with pianist Thomas Luke and performers Ebb Phillips, Ava Cowan and Amélie Jones. 

Isle of Wight carnival company Shademakers UK is one of four new groups to join Wightlink’s extensive sponsorship scheme in 2023, along with Seaclose Swimming Club, Joel Morris Dance Academy and the MLD Studio Dance and Performing Arts Academy.  

Applications for community sponsorship from individuals and groups in 2024 are welcome from the autumn.