THE 72nd Brin Isaac Memorial Fund Annual Dinner took place at the Diplomat Hotel on Tuesday (Dec 5).
It was a spectacular venue with the grounds covered in Christmas lighting. The enormous function room was laid out with numerous large tables decorated with fine cutlery and glassware ready for the invited guests. Tickets are hard to come by for this very exclusive event in Llanelli’s calendar.
The Brin Isaac Memorial Fund was established following the death in 1948 of the man who did so much for the youth of Llanelli by way of sporting opportunities. Corporate Partners for the event were Lancer Scott, Morgan La Roche, RCS Teamwear and Llanelli Boys Grammar School and Graig Former Pupils Association.
In 1950 the fund was established at the YMCA, the home of Brin’s amateur boxing club. Over the years the fund has provided help and recognition for those who have distinguished themselves by outstanding performance or, in the true Brin Isaac tradition, in long and selfless service to a chosen pursuit.
The list of recipients reads like a whose who of Welsh sporting legends. They include Phil Bennett OBE, Derek Quinnell, JJ Williams, Delme Thomas, Gilbert Lloyd, Terry Griffiths, Nigel Owens and latterly Tennessee Randall and Gemma Frizelle.
The list of guest speakers also read like a whose who of sporting greats including; John Toshack, Cliff Morgan, Nobby Stiles, John Conteh, Dame Mary Peters, DBE, CBE, MBE and latterly Warren Gatland, OBE and Sir Gareth Edwards CBE.
The guest speaker for this year’s event was the Wales football captain Aaron Ramsey. He regaled the audience with the story of his progression from an 8 year old boy in Caerphilly to scoring the winning goals in Cup Finals for Arsenal. In interview with the Chairman Adrian Davies he said that he believed his career was over when he broke his leg in a match against Stoke City. Remarkably the footballer made a recovery and went on to captain Wales and take the squad from a lowly bottom place in World Football Rankings to within a whisker of the top tier.
Jonathan (Fox) Davies also made an appearance and gave an interview with Adrian Davies in which he discussed his selection over Brian O’Driscol on the Lion’s Tour. The Welsh rugby star said he was thankful that social media was not what it is today given the amount of abuse he had thrown in his direction having been selected over O’Driscoll. Asked about plans to retire he was adamant that he still has a lot to give his club and his country.
Entertainment was provided by comedian Rod Woodward who had the room roaring with laughter with his story of his visit to the doctors and a doorbell app, which went off at the precise time the doctor was performing an examination. You had to be there to appreciate the comic genius timing and the content of Rod’s repertoire.
The evening was about the recipients and they provided remarkable stories of success in a wide range of sport including cycling, trampolining, marshall arts, coaching and gymnastics. They included World Champions and people who had coached World Champions. Extraordinary for a town as small as Llanelli.
We have included a selection of the interviews here. Apologies for those we did not have the opportunity to speak to.