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Our Dinner With Strangers project is all about bringing people from different backgrounds together ahead of Birmingham 2022, so it was only right that we brought in some sporting names to take part.

Enter Team England gymnasts and proud Brummies Mimi-Isabella Cesar and Dom Cunningham, and the Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, David Grevemberg, who were among the 44 people who shared a virtual dinner with a complete stranger.

David was paired with Fabio, a project manager from Birmingham, and the two of them hit it off over a shared pride and passion for the city. David said:

“It’s a lot of fun, I’m really excited about Birmingham. I really do feel that Birmingham has this eclectic mix of respect, listen, learn, contribute and innovate.”

Replying, Fabio said:

I completely agree. When I visited the Bullring Markets, there were so many people and such a mix between creed and colour and religion and class – it’s just a great place.”

Birmingham-born Dom, who won gymnastics Team Gold at Gold Coast in 2018, was paired up with Matt, who also grew up in the Midlands. During their dinner – which surprisingly was a bowl of cereal for Dom – they discussed their excitement that the Commonwealth Games is coming to Birmingham.

Dom said:

“For it to be a home Games, it just means so much more. Now I can get, not just my mom and dad, but all my friends and family to come and watch.”

Meanwhile, rhythmic gymnast Mimi was paired with Natasha, the Chief Operating Officer at the Black Country Living Museum. The pair happily chatted away from start to finish. Both reflected on life in lockdown as Mimi touched on how she’s had to reinvent her training schedule, whilst Natasha talked about her time volunteering for a charity in Birmingham.

Mimi said:

I absolutely loved being a part of Dinner with Strangers. I was lucky enough to have a great partner and we just talked and talked, learning all about each other’s lives and what we’ve been up to during lockdown.”

Connections were firmly formed on the night, with some pairs following each other on Instagram and exchanging emails to keep in touch.

Want to know more about Dinner with Strangers? Read our blog about how are strangers are Coping with Lockdown.

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