Tessa wins gold at new SJA awards

The Difference Dinner

Olympic medal winner Tessa Sanderson CBE became the first recipient of The Difference Award from St John Ambulance on 18 March at a glittering fundraising event in London's Mercers' Hall.

Mayor Boris Johnson presented the award, which recognises Tessa's work in the capital to make a difference to young people through the Newham 2012 Sports Academy and her own charitable foundation.

Recognising positivity

I wouldn't be in this position though without the hard work and dedication of the young people involved in the sports academy. They're my inspiration and I am confident they'll be the award and medal winners of the future.

Tessa Sanderson CBE
The Difference award winner

St John Ambulance has launched The Difference Awards to recognise an individual each year who has had a positive influence on the lives of others.

This year's inaugural award winner, Tessa Sanderson, is best known for her role in six Olympic Games from 1976-1996 and winning the Gold medal for javelin in 1984. Through the Newham 2012 Sports Academy Tessa sources new talent and gives opportunities to gifted young athletes unable to afford the specialist sports attention they require to excel.

The award presentation took place at The Difference Dinner, attended by London's high society. The event also raised funds for St John Ambulance's RISE project where 16 to 25-year-olds teach first aid and leadership skills to their peers in East London.

A worthy recipient

Mayor Boris Johnson explained why Tessa was a worthy recipient of the award: ‘Tessa's dedication to young people is a real credit to her. She has made a fantastic difference in her local community and throughout the capital. She is an inspiration and for this reason I'm very pleased to give her The Difference Award on behalf of St John Ambulance.'

Tessa Sanderson spoke of her pleasure in receiving the award: ‘I'm absolutely delighted to be the first recipient of The Difference Award – it's a real honour. I wouldn't be in this position though without the hard work and dedication of the young people involved in the sports academy. They're my inspiration and I am confident they'll be the award and medal winners of the future.'

Guests attending the sell-out event enjoyed a sumptuous meal, entertainment from up-and-coming dynamic violinist Analiza Ching as well as taking part in auctions with prizes including private opera boxes and luxury holidays. The event was on target to raise over £30,000 for St John Ambulance's RISE project.