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Doncaster Chamber Celebrates Return of the St Leger Festival and Its Positive Impact on the Local Economy

Conscious of the benefits that it yields for the local economy — in terms of attracting visitors and drumming up business — Doncaster Chamber is celebrating the triumphant return of the Saint Leger Festival.

Taking place at Doncaster Racecourse, the St Leger is a major event for our city, with the distinction of being the oldest of the five British classics. Indeed, the festival has been running for 247 years now and still continues to draw in thousands upon thousands of racegoers each and every September.

In turn, this has the welcome knock-on effect of stimulating economic activity in the borough, and getting visitors to frequent local businesses. Not to mention, the headline St Leger race itself is of great significance within the sporting community, and puts Doncaster in the international spotlight.

While the St Leger has been going strong since 1776, the last few iterations have been unavoidably muted, owing to various disruptions caused by things like the COVID-19 pandemic and the sad passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This year, however, the event has been able to make a true comeback and is returning in full force.

The 2023 festival officially kicked off on Thursday the 14th of September, with its prestigious Ladies Day. Here, Doncaster Chamber members were able access to an exclusive marquee — with an unobstructed view down the home straight — that provided them with the ultimate St Leger experience.

In addition to a three-course lunch, unlimited refreshments, race-cards and a hospitality badge, the Chamber’s package also gave said attendees the opportunity to network with like-minded businesses in a private garden area.

Speaking about this and the overall importance of the event itself, Dan Fell, Chief Exec of Doncaster Chamber, enthused: “The St Leger festival is one of our biggest attractions here in South Yorkshire and its impact on the local economy cannot be overstated.

“Indeed, the business community truly reaps the benefits of this, especially those in the hospitality sector. Excited spectators come from all over the country to watch these races and, in the process, they inevitably end up staying in our hotels, dining at nearby restaurants, frequenting shops and visiting bars.

“Meanwhile, the St Leger Stakes itself is obviously an iconic race and the subject of enormous interest for sporting fans across the globe. Which means that it is also an opportunity for us to represent Doncaster on the world stage and really show ourselves in the best possible light.

“It should go without saying then that it’s incredibly heartening to see The St Leger return to its former glory, after all of the unforeseen disruptions that forced it to be cut short in recent years. In the face of great adversity, the racecourse has valiantly continued with this event in whatever form they could — and they deserve to be commended for that — but it’s great to see it now returning without any limitations.

“While we certainly have enterprising and tenacious businesses here in Doncaster — all of whom have demonstrated fierce resilience by weathering the economic hardships of our current times — we do need events like this to support them.

“It is for this reason that the Chamber always has a presence at The St Leger festival, as we recognise its importance for the region as a whole. Every year we have a dedicated marquee at Ladies Day where our members can relish in the glamour of the occasion, enjoy the various entertainment offerings and develop their relationships with peers.

“It’s a fantastic celebration and always proves to be a memorable highlight in the calendar. With that said, I’d like to thank our generous sponsor Orb Recruitment for making the Chamber’s Ladies Day package possible this year.”

On that note, Stewart Olsen, Managing Director of ORB Recruitment, added: “Ladies Day is always a fantastic event and one that we eagerly look forward to year after year. 2023 was no exception in this regard and, as proud Patrons of the Chamber, Orb Recruitment was delighted to be sponsors for the Chamber’s marque here. It was great to see members and colleagues networking together and enjoying a bit of downtime, at an event that’s truly like no other in our city.”

Ladies Day is one Doncaster Chamber’s annual flagship events, alongside its acclaimed business conference and the OD Live careers fair. Next up is the 25th anniversary Doncaster Business Awards, which will be shining a spotlight on our city’s best and brightest on Thursday the  7th of December.



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