Sports stars given money to kick-start future careers

(Left to right): Littlehampton mayor Ian Buckland, Daphne Belt, Daniel Fernandes, Madison Walker, Amber Brown, Ella Thornburg, Jessica Brown, Marissa Netherwood, Beth Kincaid and councillor Billy Blanchard-Cooper
(Left to right): Littlehampton mayor Ian Buckland, Daphne Belt, Daniel Fernandes, Madison Walker, Amber Brown, Ella Thornburg, Jessica Brown, Marissa Netherwood, Beth Kincaid and councillor Billy Blanchard-Cooper

Nine sports stars of the future are one step closer to making their dream careers a reality after being given a grant.

The £2,000 fund was donated by the Littlehampton Sports Forum, part of the town council, in its Financial Awards for Sporting Excellence initiative.

Six of the nine applicants were from the Littlehampton Swimming Club, and other recipients included nine-times world champion triathlete Daphne Belt and dancer Jessica Baker, 16, who is currently studying at the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in London.

Chairman of the forum and town councillor Billy Blanchard-Cooper said: “The sports forum was overwhelmed by the standard of this year’s applicants and impressed by their achievements.

“The level of talent in our town is incredible and the awards are the town council’s way of encouraging great sportsmanship in Littlehampton.”

Daphne, 16, received the Littlehampton Sportsperson of the Year Award in 2014 and is the world champion in her age group. Her portion of the funds will help her travel to the grand final of the world championships in Rotterdam next year so she can attempt the tenth title.

The other winners were Madison Walker, 14, who won silver in the 200m breaststroke and bronze in the medley at the County Winter Competition; swimmer Jessica Brown, 16, who has been ranked first in her age group in Sussex for the 200m butterfly; footballer Beth Kincaid, 15, who is in the Sussex Schools Under 16s Squad; swimmer Daniel Fernandes, 11, who has qualified for the 2017 Sussex County Championships; swimmer Amber Brown, 12, who hopes to swim at a national level; Ella Thornburg, 10, who broke her club’s 500m butterfly record for her age and Marissa Netherwood, nine, has also broken three records for her age at her swimming club.

The cheques were presented by the town mayor and town councillor Ian Buckland, who said he felt ‘really proud of their achievements’ and wished them ‘all the best for 2017’.

The Financial Awards for Sporting Excellence initiative has provided £20,000 worth of grants since its launch in 2006 with dozens of people in Littlehampton benefiting from the extra help for their chosen sport.

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