Great Blakenham: SnOasis helps Apache skiers

GREAT BLAKENHAM: The man behind the grand SnOasis project has helped a team of army skiers prepare for a trip to the Alps for five weeks of training and competitive action.

Godfrey Spanner has donated cash to the 3 and 4 Regiment Army Air Corps Ski Team, based at Wattisham, to spend five weeks in Switzerland.

Mr Spanner is the man behind the SnOasis winter sports and leisure complex in nearby Great Blakenham.

As he handed over the cheque to the army skiers, Mr Spanner said he hoped the donation would be the start of a long-standing relationship with servicemen and staff at Wattisham.

He said that once SnOasis was open, it would be an ideal base for them to use for training and recreational purposes.

He said: “I did something for them when they were in Afghanistan and when they came back they said they wanted to take a serious part in the season’s winter sports and that some cash would help them, so I was only too pleased.

“When SnOasis is done, these guys will benefit hugely and we shall welcome them.”

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Captain Euan Aitkenhead, who is leading the 12-strong ski team, said members would have had to increase their individual contributions if Mr Spanner had not made the donation.

He said: “It makes a major difference – without increasing the individual contributions the soldiers have to make, it would have almost been unthinkable for us to go.

“The majority of us have just got back from Afghanistan and had been out there for five months, so a fairly intense time.”

Skier Lance Corporal Ashley Cattermole, 23, from Ipswich, said everyone was very grateful to Mr Spanner for the money and all were excited about spending five weeks in Verbier over Christmas.

He said: “We have a six-day week training regime, followed by time trials in all different categories – Alpine, slalom and super G.

“Then the best skiers from here go on for the divisional championships.”

Mr Spanner said he hoped to receive all the legal documents he needed before the end of the month to begin work at the SnOasis site soon, with construction scheduled to begin in September next year.

n Are you excited by the SnOasis plan? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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