THE story behind Coventry Bees’ closure was echoed around the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday as our Save Our Bees campaign took its fight to Parliament.
Mark Pawsey MP, secretary of the All-Parliamentary Group for speedway, invited sports editor and keen Bees fan Shaun Reynolds to the capital to discuss Bees’ ongoing off-track battle.
Bees supporters were left heartbroken in February when a last-minute deal for the 89-year-old club to race at Leicester speedway fell through, meaning the club were not only homeless but also axed from the 2017 SGB Premiership season.
Since then, Coventry Stadium owners – Brandon Estates – have announced plans to build 137 homes on the stadium site – a move which would put Bees’ long-term future in significant doubt.
A Save Coventry Speedway committee has been formed to represent the club’s interest and arrange various challenge matches away from home to keep Bees’ name in the spotlight.
Campaigners Jeff Davies, Steve Jones, and Pete Lawrence also made the trip to London to visit Mr Pawsey.
We highlighted the hurt fans are feeling following Bees’ axe and raised the results of our campaign survey from October.
Despite claims from Brandon Estates that residents wanted houses built, our survey revealed 93 per cent of residents in Binley Woods and Brandon wanted speedway and stock car racing to return.
Mr Pawsey – himself a speedway fan – engaged with our discussion and said he will continue to defend Coventry Bees’ cause when Brandon Estates submit their planning application.
He also highlighted Bees’ situation in a lengthy speech during the APPG’s annual celebration ceremony.
Since Bees’ axe, the Rugby MP has held a meeting at Westminster with representatives from Brandon Estates with the aim of finding a resolution to see Bees return to racing.
He is also in ‘constant dialogue’ with the Save Coventry Speedway Campaign committee.
MPs Henry Bellingham and Nicholas Brown were also in attendance on Wednesday at the APPG’s annual event, which recognises the successes of the sport throughout the season.
A Save Coventry Speedway campaign spokesperson said: “We are extremely grateful to Mr Pawsey for the invitation and for making the plight of the Coventry Bees the core of his speech.
“He spoke very passionately about the sport and the significance of the Bees.
“He also made a plea to the large gathering of people, including many of the sport’s administrators, to do everything they could to support our campaign.
“To have the ongoing support of Mr Pawsey is really important to us and the thousands of people who have lost their sports.”
Fans of the Coventry Bees speedway club and CoventryStox can pledge their support to our campaign by using #SaveOurBees on Twitter or by telling us what Coventry Stadium means to you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org