Cram paid £5k at Olympic event - Comment on this story

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MORE than £5,000 in public cash was paid to former athlete Steve Cram for a day’s work in Scarborough, it has been revealed.

Scarborough Council paid Cram the £5,000 fee and £100 expenses to front an Olympic themed seminar at Scarborough Rugby Club in June last year.

The event was intended to increase interest in the London 2012 Olympic Games and encourage more people in Scarborough to take up sport.

The fee which Cram was paid could have provided a school sports coach for more than 330 hours in local schools, or funded 20 round coach trips for 50 schoolchildren to professional athletics facilities in York.

It could also have paid for a 16ft boxing ring, 100 javelins, 50 hurdles, 500 stopwatches or 25,000 training cones.

John Brownlie, of Scarborough Amatuer Boxing Club, said: “I don’t know how much these celebrities charge, but it seems a lot of money to me.

“That £5,000 would have made a massive difference to any amateur sports club in the town.”

Cram, who won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games, was the main speaker at the event, which around 110 local sports persons from voluntary, education and professional sectors attended.

He also helped train around 60 schoolchildren and passed on training tips to junior members of Scarborough Athletics Club.

Cllr Derek Bastiman, who holds the Scarborough Council portfolio for strategic planning and regeneration, said: “I think it was excellent value for money. I have no problems with it. He was very well received.”

Mick Thompson, spokesman for Scarborough Athletics Club, attended the event. He said: “I think it was probably worth it. If that’s the going rate I wouldn’t grumble. It was a good day and he got involved in activities.”

Scarborough council’s leisure manager Andrew Williams said: “£5,000 is the going rate to secure the services of a personality such as Steve Cram.

“We believe a person of his standing and national profile was required to head the local launch event for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and think the fee paid represents good value for money, given the impact his visit had on raising the profile of sport in the borough and placing Scarborough on the map in respect of activities relating to the 2012 Games.”