Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


PM Brown greets Ambassador Tony
Tony Stephenson from Lisburn meets up with Prime Minister Gordon Brown


Date with the PM

Tony Stephenson from Lisburn meets up with Prime Minister Gordon Brown during his visit to London last week.


LISBURN teenager Tony Stephenson got a special surprise when he went to London last week to collect a top award by coming face to face with the Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The 17-year-old travelled to the capital as one of the UK School Games Champion Ambassadors, a role he earned following his outstanding performance at last year's Games where he was the boys singles gold medallist.

Tony was one of eight of the 12 ambassadors who attended a House of Commons reception hosted by the former sports minister and current UK School Games president Richard Caborn MB but prior to that they were each given the opportunity to meet the PM.

Mr Brown has been a keen supporter of the UK School Games, having visited the first ever event in 2006 in Glasgow and last year announced the winning cities for future Games, of which the third will be staged in Bristol and Bath this summer.

"Mr Brown asked us about our training schedules and what sports we all do," said Tony. This was a really special moment and will definitely be very memorable. I find it quite an honour to be named an ambassador and also to be the only one from Northern Ireland.

"Coventry was the only Games I competed in and unfortunately I will be too old for this year's event in Bristol and Bath but I hope my role as ambassador will help me make the Games an amazing occasion for future competitors.

"I can't say enough what an amazing experience it was, it's so well organised and just a lot of fun."

Along with the other ambassadors Tony will now play an active role in contributing to the future development of the UK School Games and raise its profile as patrons, while meeting annually with Mr Caborn to provide an insight into the event as part of the Athletes Commission.

The, minister said: "The annual Games give Britain's best school-age athletes the opportunity to compete against each other - and show the rest of the country how talented they are.

"The UK School Games Champion Ambassador programme recognises the performances of those outstanding athletes across each sport who will become role models for their peers, help champion this inspirational event and, we hope, go on to win medals at major elite events."

It is expected that each ambassador will serve for between one and three years, with future nominations being made by the National Governing Bodies and Home Country Sports Councils, which will then be considered by the panel and each year worthy Champion will be invited to become an Ambassador.

Ulster Star