Tom Brake raises the bar for British pole vaulting and completes Olympic Gold Challenge

October 22, 2012 11:47 AM

MP for Carshalton and Wallington Tom Brake raised the bar this Wednesday when he had a go at pole vaulting to complete his tenth and final Olympic Gold Challenge in support of Bliss, a charity that seeks to raise money and awareness for sick and premature babies. Tom's challenge started back in November last year and has seen him take part in a number of sports including basketball, fixed wheel cycling, an early morning open-air swim, tennis, table tennis, and a triathlon.

Tom said, "After ten challenges of Olympic proportions, I now get a better taste of what our Olympic and Paralympics athletes went through. It was a powerful experience in itself, and the donations I've received will help the thousands of sick babies that are born every year."

"80,000 babies are born prematurely every year in the UK, or 1 in every 9, and I feel privileged to have helped support them and their families while pushing myself to my limits."

Tom was able to try pole vaulting on behalf of the London Pole Vaulting Academy, based in Everyone Active's Sutton Arena Leisure Centre. The academy was founded last year by Allan Williams with patronage from Sergei Bubka, an Olympic Gold Medallist and the World Champion for pole vaulting.

Tom added "Years of practice are needed to become proficient at pole vaulting and I was fortunate to receive coaching from Allan Williams. His efforts at the Academy have made Sutton the centre of London pole vaulting."


Notes for Editors:

The baby charity was formed in 1979 when a letter to the Daily Telegraph culminated in the foundation of a charity that sought to raise money and awareness for premature babies. Since then, it has been providing support and consultation to the families of sick or premature babies.

To learn more about Bliss or make a donation, visit or text BLIS11 and then the amount you'd like to give (eg. BLIS115 to donate 5£) to 70070.

The London Pole Vaulting Academy will host the first UK Pole Vault Challenge in 2013, which will include an audience with Sergei Bubka as well as a series of seminars and clinics for over 100 competing vaulters and some coaches.

The London Pole Vaulting Academy is inviting School Children to try out pole vaulting, contact Allan Williams at if interested.

What would you like to do next?