WEYMOUTH’S Riviera Hotel today announced a knockout new sponsorship deal.
The Bowleaze Cove venue is backing highly-talented 17-year-old boxer, Libys McGuiness.
The youngster is one of Weymouth Boxing Club’s hottest properties and a member of its renowned, Grey Ranks Crew section.
She is being tipped as a future full England international and has already trained with the British Womens squad at the Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
As well as financial support, the Riviera is giving Libys full access to its outstanding leisure facilities that include a gym and two heated swimming pools.
Libys, who will be moving up to senior ranks next month, said: “I am so grateful to the Riviera and I am proud to be associated with the hotel.
“My aim is to box internationally one day and support like this can really make all the difference.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to the staff at the hotel. Particularly the guys in the leisure club. It is much appreciated.”
Riviera general manager, Pete Burnham, said the hotel is delighted to be associated with talented local sports stars.
He added: “Libys is a highly motivated and hardworking young lady and we are delighted to be supporting her.
“We have wonderful leisure facilities here at the Riviera and it’s great to think that we are contributing to what we hope will be a very successful career.”
Meanwhile Grey Ranks Crew coach, Marcin Fojt, described his teenage fighter as a ‘tremendous talent’.
He added: “Libys has a lot of potential and she’s prepared to work hard for her success.
“Support of any kind is appreciated at this level of the sport and we are really grateful to the Riviera Hotel.”
NICE ONE CYRIL!
ONE of the last surviving men who fought in the Battle of Bulge in the Second World War was treated to a surprise birthday party by a local veterans club.
Cyril Gill, a former member of the armed forces during the war, proved he is still as fit as a fiddle as he ushered in his 92nd birthday with a surprise party at the Riviera Hotel in Weymouth.
Mr Gillwas greeted at the hotel by family, friends and members of the Dorset Veterans Breakfast Club, plus borough mayor Cllr Christine James and two serving Welsh Guards.
Mr Gill, originally from Wales, enlisted as a Welsh Guard during the war, before moving down to Weymouth in 1943 to prepare the tanks for the D-Day landings.
He met his future wife Ruby, and married her in October of that year. Just two days after, he was sent to France, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
The battle was a long and bloody one, lasting for more than one month, with an estimated 144,000 men losing their lives.
He returned to Weymouth and his wife Ruby in 1947, where he settled down with his family.
Over the past few years, Cyril has become more involved with the Dorset Veterans Breakfast Club, an organisation of war veterans and serving members of the armed forces.
Members of the club have been so moved by Cyril’s war stories that they decided to organise a surprise event for his birthday, supported by the armed forces charity Soldiers, Sailors and Airman Family Association (SSAFA), and the Rotary Club.
Cyril said: “It was a big surprise, I thought ‘oh my god, I’ve got to join up again!
“But no, I really enjoyed it, I just thought I was coming for lunch.”
Sporting a birthday boy badge along with his war medals, Cyril also gave his secret to reaching the ripe old age of 92.
“Not to worry about anything, that’s the secret,” he added.
Derek Hope, SSAFA divisional secretary for Weymouth and Portland, said: “We all wanted to remind him that his war service is still recognised and will always be greatly valued."
“We were also thrilled that the Welsh Guards agreed to join us, as this will ensure that the evening is truly memorable for Cyril.”
As a special honour, representatives from the Welsh Guards presented Cyril with a tankard for his birthday.
SOPHIE'S WORK IS FIT FOR A MASTER
‘A picture the master himself would have been proud of’.
That’s how judge Martin Leighton described Sophie Fretwell’s winning entry in the Riviera Hotel’s John Constable painting competition.
Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the Royal Academy member’s honeymoon trip to Osmington.
While relaxing on the Jurassic coast, he painted Weymouth Bay – a gorgeous landscape looking across the resort from Bowleaze, which now hangs in the National Gallery.
Constable positioned himself where the Riviera Hotel now stands and management at the Art-Deco facility ran a competition asking local artists to paint today’s view from exactly the same spot.
The hotel was inundated with entries, but it was the teenager’s stunning watercolour that captured the judge’s eye.
Mr Leighton, who runs the Leighton Gallery in Weymouth, said: “As a judge you owe it to the painters to be honest about their work and I can honestly say every single entry would have been a worthy winner.
“The skills and talent on display has been breathtaking and it’s been an absolute pleasure to be part of this fantastic project.
“But for me, Sophie’s work had just that little bit extra. Great colours, fabulous shadow work and a dramatic sky. I reckon the old master Constable would have been proud to have painted it himself.
“I congratulate all the painters and thank the Riviera Hotel for supporting local artists in this way.”
Sophie, who lives on Portland and attends Bournemouth University, said he was ‘shocked’ to have won.
“It was a big surprise”, she said, “and I’m absolutely delighted. There were so many fantastic entries and so it’s a real honour to have won.
“I think all of us can appreciate why the greats like Constable and Turner painted from Bowleaze because the view across from Riviera Hotel is incredible.”
Following the success of the competition, the Riviera Hotel is now planning more art projects for the future.
General manager. Pete Burnham. Said: “It’s been brilliant and I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the artists and to Martin Leighton for doing the judging.
“We are always delighted to welcome painters to our grounds and we will definitely be supporting other events in the New Year.”
The winning painting will soon hang permanently in the hotel reception area while Sophie also scooped a cash prize and a year’s hotel leisure membership.
Second place went to Gina Marshall while Christine Rogers took third.
RIVIERA SET TO RUMBLE......AGAIN
FOLLOWING the huge success of War on the Shore back in November, Britain's top wrestlers will be returning to the Riviera Hotel next month.
Ultimate Pro Wrestling presents its First Anniversary event in the Ballroom on Friday February 12 (doors open 7pm).
For tickets visit www.skiddle.com