Send us news by text, start your message Star News and your send photos and videos to 80360
PICTURES: Clare Balding is star turn at Saints' Langtree Park
11:06am Friday 28th September 2012 in News
SHE is arguably the most ‘in demand’ sports broadcaster in the country following her exceptional coverage of London 2012.
So Jon Wilkin’s delight at securing Clare Balding as the host of a Question of Sport evening for his testimonial celebrations was understandable.
It also gave him the perfect opportunity to get a few friendly words of advice about his big date presenting the Pride of St Helens Awards next month.
Clare was the star attraction at the Langtree Park event, which also featured the likes of Olympic bronze medal-winning gymnast Beth Tweddle and Sky Sports presenter Brian Carney.
Her visit to the Saints stadium was sandwiched between dates on the Jonathan Ross Show, BBC’s One Show and BBC Breakfast.
Wilkin, friends with Clare following his appearances on the BBC’s rugby league coverage, says her passion for rugby league and interest in Saints was evident for all to see.
He told the Star: “It was an amazing night – and at this time of year when the season is so intense it is good to relax and enjoy an evening away from it all.
“It was a huge coup to get Clare down at Langtree Park, especially following the acclaim she has received following the Olympics and Paralympics.
“She is a big fan of rugby league and certainly enjoys watching Saints. She was very impressed by the stadium and the conferencing facilities we have.
“She is really keen to promote the sport, and as we try to build the media profile of the game nationally her expertise is something we need to tap into.
“She spent time at length chatting to Mike Rush and Ray French. She is an utter professional, but behind the scenes she has a wicked sense of humour.
“I even asked her for some tips on my forthcoming job of presenting the Pride of St Helens Awards – but I’ll keep those to myself.”
Former swimmer Steve Parry, ex-Liverpool footballer Alan Kennedy and former Everton player Kevin Ratcliffe were also among the panellists.
Jon thanked Optimus Protein, winners of the Star’s business accelerator competition, which sponsored the evening.