Bursary for Bolsover quartet

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Four top athletes from Bolsover District have each been awarded a bursary from Derbyshire Sport’s business network ICON, sharing a pot totalling £630.

The scheme, which is backed by Bolsover District Council, has chosen to support badminton player Ellie Wheatley, golfer Emily-Mae Hall and kickboxers Jack Griffiths and Millie Yates.

Each of the athletes is either competing internationally, has won a national championship medal, or is part of a recognised national development squad within their sport, and will receive a bursary of up to £200 to help them meet training costs such as travel, equipment, coaching fees or competition costs.

In addition to the bursaries, Bolsover District Council will offer each of the athletes free access to its fitness and swim facilities at Clowne Sports Centre and Creswell Leisure Centre for training purposes.

The quartet is made up of 18-year-old Pinxton golder Emily-Mae Hall, who competed at the England Girls U18 Championships, achieving a top 10 finish. She is the Derbyshire Schools champion and competed at the England School Finals. She is also the U18 County Champion.

Jack Griffiths is a 15-year-old kickboxer from Bolsover, and is a British, European and World Champion.

In 2013 he won two gold medals at the WAKO British Championships for the fourth year in a row. He also won two gold medals at the Austrian Classics and two gold medals at the WKA European Open. He is a member of the Area51 Urban Academy.

Nine-year-old Millie Yates has won a British Kickboxing Championship gold medal, a European Championship silver medal and a World Championship bronze medal.

Millie is a member of the WTKA England Squad and a member of East Midlands Freestyle Martial Arts, based in Tibshelf.

Ellie Wheatley (13), from Whitwell, won a bronze medal in the girls doubles at the English U13 Badminton Nationals. Ellie is a member of Venturers Badminton Club in Chesterfield and the Derbyshire Badminton Performance Centre.

Bolsover District Council’s cabinet member for social inclusion, Coun Ann Syrett, and Ilana Freestone, director of Derbyshire Sport, met the athletes to congratulate them during a presentation at the Arc in Clowne.

Bolsover District Council is a member of ICON, which was set up by Derbyshire Sport as part of the work to create a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Games in Derbyshire. Each ICON member contributes an annual membership fee, and this money goes directly to athletes through the bursary scheme.

Coun Paul Smith, chair of Derbyshire Sport, said: “We are extremely grateful to all the members of ICON for supporting local talent, as without their help it would not be possible to award these bursaries.

“This is the seventh year that these awards have been made, and demand for this support has grown year on year, giving our bursary panel some very tough decisions to make.

“We are very keen to be able to provide more support for these athletes, and to support more athletes, and in order to do so would encourage more local businesses to consider becoming an ICON member.”

Ilana Freestone said: “There is a lot of work happening across the county and city to encourage more people to get active and support those with talent, and we are looking for new businesses to work with and become members of ICON.

“Contributions can be financial, or in kind, such as discounted memberships or sports kit - large or small - we are keen to work with businesses to determine the role that they can play and would welcome initial discussions without commitment.”

Bolsover District Council’s Ann Syrett said: “We have some amazing sporting talent across Bolsover District and we are delighted to be part of this scheme.

“These four athletes have already done so much, but if we can continue to support and nurture them then who knows what they can go onto to achieve.”

In return for supporting Derbyshire’s talented young athletes, ICON members receive regular updates on the successes of Derbyshire athletes, information about active workplace initiatives and participation events, and support to develop links with other businesses that share an interest in sport and leisure with an invitation to attend a range of networking events.

To find out more about ICON, or if you would like to become a member, please contact Rachel Felix on 01773 571224 or Rachel.felix@derbyshire.gov.uk

ICON is supported by the following local authorities: Bolsover District Council, Derbyshire County Council, North East Derbyshire District Council, Chesterfield Borough Council, Derby City Council, Amber Valley Borough Council, High Peak Borough Council, Erewash Borough Council, South Derbyshire District Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council.

ICON members also include Active Nation, Amber Valley School Sport Partnership, Brampton Manor, Chesterfield School Sport Partnership, Community Sports Trust, Derby College, Derby County FC, Derby Telegraph, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, Derbyshire County Cricket Club, Destination Chesterfield, Flint Bishop LLP, Geldards, Identity the Jewellers and Watch Shop, Indigo Furniture, Innes England, John Felix Films, Johnson Health Tech UK, Lonsdale Swimming and Sports Trust, Manx Engines Derby, Marketing Derby, Morley Hayes, Nuffield Health Derby Hospital, Origination, PKF Cooper Parry, Rolls-Royce, Technogym UK, University of Derby and webdna Ltd.