Rugby World Cup winner Danielle ‘Nolli’ Waterman and former England striker Dion Dublin thrilled a packed crowd at AFC Bournemouth’s Sporting Dinner at Vitality Stadium on Thursday.
The annual event, which was sponsored by Frettens Solicitors, saw 240 invited guests treated to an evening of fine food and interesting and amusing sporting anecdotes.
Hosted by Harvey Thorneycroft more than £2,500 was raised from a raffle and auction for AFC Bournemouth’s four chosen charities this season – the Bournemouth Foodbank, The Crumbs Project, Dorset Mental Health Forum and Gully’s Place.
Matt Fretten, the managing partner in Frettens Solicitors, said: “This is one of the premier events in the area for businesses and it’s fantastic.
“We’ve been lucky enough to be associated with the club on a professional basis for about 10 years and the rise has been meteoric.”
Footballer Dion Dublin, who won the Premier League Golden Boot in 1997/98, played more than 600 games for Cambridge United, Manchester United, Coventry, Aston Villa, Leicester, Celtic and Norwich. He now works as a media pundit and presenter on the BBC’s Homes Under the Hammer.
He said: “I’ve done a few speeches in my time but it’s a lively lot in here tonight!
“I played against this club when they were nowhere near the Premier League. The way the club is run, the way they have gone about their business, the manager, the players, the youth scheme, everything seems to be going in the right direction so I’ve got to tip my hat to Bournemouth.”
Nolli Waterman, daughter of Bath Rugby legend Jim Waterman, was the youngest player to be capped by England in 2003. She went on to lift the World Cup with England in 2014 and is also a multiple Six Nations Championship winner.
Asked about the Cherries manager Eddie Howe’s influence on sports people, she said: “There is a really sound base at this club. He looks after his players and it’s very consistent.
“For young players coming into that, it’s the culture you want to teach them about elite sport and it’s showing in the success they are having.”
The event was organised by AFC Bournemouth commercial director Rob Mitchell and his dedicated team and was a huge success.
Rob Mitchell said: “We had 240 guests representing a range of businesses and supporters of the club.
“Nolli and Dion were both excellent guest speakers and comedian Dominic Holland capped a fantastic evening.
“On behalf of AFC Bournemouth, I would like to extend my thanks to Frettens Solicitors for their support of this event and their continued support for our wonderful football club.”