Staff from a Southend casino relished teaming up with some of Britain’s most promising young athletes and Olympic hero Etienne Stott for a day of white-water rafting.  

Nine staff members from Caesar’s casino Rendezvous Southend, on Eastern Esplanade, roared down rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre, an Olympic venue, with 2012 gold medallist Stott in support.

Caesar’s enjoy a fruitful partnership with charity SportsAid, supporting Britain’s most promising young athletes on their road towards Team GB.

Employee Shelley Clarke, from Rayleigh, revelled in the chance to visit an Olympic venue, taking part in raft-building in the morning and competitive racing in the afternoon.

“It was fantastic and a really good opportunity - it was a miracle we survived the raft-building,” she said.

“The canoe slalom experience was incredible and such a buzz to be in the boat together, as well as managing to avoid drowning.

“It’s great to have access to the facilities they used for London 2012 and it’s an amazing venue. My kids were jealous when I told them I was going!

“SportsAid is a great cause and as an employee, it’s good to know we’re giving such important help to the next generation.”

Caesar’s employees took young SportsAid athletes under their wing, with cricketer Georgie Boyce, boxer Connor Tudsbury and wheelchair basketballer Christy Gregan in attendance.

The Southend branch negotiated the Olympic course in a quicker time than any of the other teams, being named the top team of the day at an awards ceremony in the evening.

Stott, who presented them with the trophy, holds golden memories of the Lee Valley venue, entering the sporting pantheon with gold four years ago alongside Tim Baillie.

Having received SportsAid funding earlier in his career, Stott extolled the virtues of the charity and the support it offers young athletes at a crucial stage in their development.

“It was a memorable day and the teams did better at building rafts than I expected,” said the 39-year-old.

“The Caesar’s employees who support SportsAid got to have close contact with the athletes and perhaps in the future, they’ll follow them all the way to the Olympics.

“SportsAid is an amazing organisation because it gives young athletes vital support and encouragement at an important stage in their careers.”

Caesars Entertainment EMEA is helping young athletes at SportsAid by giving them recognition and financial support during the critical formative years of their careers. For more information, please visit