‘When Saturday comes’ took on a whole new meaning for North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson when he received a late call on Friday 6 December to join Prime Minister David Cameron for lunch at his country residence the following day.
The PM was hosted a gathering for British sports stars of the past, present and future and gave a speech about the contribution that sport makes to British culture. He also described the impact of sporting achievement on the nation’s standing across the world.
Justin said he has been looking forward to a quiet weekend in Swindon, meeting constituents, visiting community organisations and writing Christmas cards.
"The call came through in the late afternoon asking me if I could join the Prime Minister and the Sports Minister Helen Grant at the sports gathering.
"With my deep interest in sport and how it can tackle the major issues in society – the subject of my maiden speech in Parliament – it was an offer I couldn’t refuse."
At Chequers Justin found himself sitting next to Mr Cameron and a host of sports legends including former England rugby captains Bill Beaumont and Will Carling, athlete Sally Gunnell, cricketer and dancer Darren Gough, as well as broadcaster and national treasure Clare Balding.
"It was fantastic to be able to chat to people who reached the pinnacle in their sports before going on to new professions. It was impressive to learn of their commitments to improving sports excellence as well as engaging young people in useful activity.
"It was a fascinating encounter and I must admit a bit of a blur afterwards."
Justin said Mr Cameron had returned from a whirlwind trade visit to China the day before the lunch and talked about how Britain is seen abroad because of its commitment to sport.
"The Prime Minister said the after effects of the 2012 Olympics is still powerful and that we cannot underestimate how the UK is regarded because of sport and the knock-on impact on trade and business.
"He related how a trade deal was concluded partly because the British trade mission had brought the Premier League trophy to show off.
"He went on to talk about the need to boost the health of the nation by encouraging more sports participation at all ages."
But Swindon was calling Justin and whilst many guests took a tour of Checkers, he slipped away to get back to watch the second half of the match between Supermarine and Thatcham which saw the Swindon team win 5-0.
"It was a really inspiring morning and early afternoon, and a great success in the afternoon," said Justin. "I couldn’t have asked for a better day.