THE founders of a Swindon charity got the chance to mingle with an array of celebrities and sports stars when they won invites to the Pride of Britain and Sport awards ceremonies.

Jenny Stacey and Pat Winning from the Open Door Centre in Gorse Hill sat at the winner’s table of the Pride of Britain show with other charities after being picked by the Swindon branch of TSB to attend the star-studded event which celebrated everyday acts of heroism and generosity.

Jenny said: “It is such a great feeling to know that, as a team, we have been recognised for what we set out to achieve, because it means we are succeeding.”

Pat said: “We are so grateful to Dan Cowen and all the team at TSB Swindon, not only for helping us through this momentous occasion, but also for the incredible support that they and so many others give us.”

The charity’s activity co-ordinator, Courtenay Merchant, enjoyed meeting some of his sporting heroes at the Pride of Sport awards last week.

He said: “It was a brilliant night and the celebrities were very generous with their time, the award winners’ stories were inspiring and it was a great celebration of sport, charity, and disability in sport.

“This once-in-a-lifetime experience was really enjoyable, it was great to be recognised, and sharing our selfies with the celebs on social media helped spread the word about the work we do.

“I’m a rugby man, so I was quite star-stuck when I saw Jason Leonard and Martin Johnson, and Graeme Swann is a lovely guy. My wife and son are big Leicester City football fans so they were thrilled to meet Jamie Vardy.

“I also made some great connections with other, larger charities which will really help us going forward.”

The Open Door Centre supports more than 100 adults with learning disabilities by helping them build their independence and confidence.

The town centre branch of TSB has raised more than £2,500 over the last year for the charity, which is mainly funded through fundraising and grants. To find out more, visit or call 01793 512357.