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Cumbria supports another round of talented athletes in the run up to the London 2012 games

March 28, 2012

With just over 100 days to go until the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games hits our shores Active Cumbria the Sport and Physical Activity Partnership announces the third round of local Talented Athletes it will support through the Cumbria Talented Athlete Fund.

Cumbria Talented Athlete Fund was created as part of the sporting legacy of London 2012 to support Cumbria's talented athletes. The fund is supported by Cumbria County Council, South Lakeland District Council, Allerdale Borough Council and Active Cumbria, The Sport and Physical Activity Partnership. The fund was launched at the Cumbria Sports Awards in 2009 and was put in place for three years leading up to London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. So far the fund has supported 84 talented athletes in Cumbria giving out nearly £25,000 in award grants.

The recipients to be supported this year from the Performance element of the fund will be:

  • Natasha Wilson of Wigton is a talented Javelin thrower. Natasha is competing at the top of her sport for her age winning medals throwing for England and being crowned English Schools Champion for the last two years. Natasha's strong performances have ensured she is ranked as number 1 in the UK for her age group. Natasha's training and competing sees her travel the length of the country and next month takes her overseas to train in Tunisia. Natasha said;
    "I was really pleased to receive this grant it came at an important time of my sporting career as this season I am going into my last year as an U17 athlete preparing myself for the U20 women's next season, I'm going to Tunisia with my coach Mike Doran in April where I will be doing 2 Javelin competitions, I recently purchased some new Javelin spikes which cost over £100 as my old ones where a bit worse for wear having had them for over 3 years, as I increase my distance in Javelin I need to upgrade my javelin so the further the distance the more expensive the Javelin. Good Javelin can cost from £800-£2000, so the grant is a god send. I've recently been selected from my performance last season to represent England in May in the UK School Games at the Olympic Stadium in London I am so excited to represent England but it makes it more special because I get to throw the javelin in the OLYMPIC STADIUM which is every young athletes dream. That is one competition that I cant wait for, just the buzz of being there knowing that the top athletes in the world will be competing there and one day it will be my dream to make the Olympics in the future and win gold for my country."
  • Kathryn Routledge of Carlisle a talented athlete in the sport of Waterpolo. Kathryn joined the English talent squad three years ago and represented GB in a number of competitions.  Kathryn captained the GB team that beat Hungarian national team for the first time in the Olympic Hope Junior Competition. Kathryn is a highly dedicated athlete training between Carlisle, Lancaster and Liverpool. Kathryn is also travelling to Cardiff to train as part of English Talent squad with hopes of making the European team. As well as clocking up a number of Cumbrian Sports Awards, Kathryn has been chosen to carry the Olympic Torch in recognition of her talent.
  • Jeannie Darroch of Little Salkeld a talented athlete in the sport of Swimming. Jeannie has been a member of the North West Disability squad since 2004. Jeannie has also been a member of the Cerebral Palsy National Squad since 2007 based in Nottingham. She is hoping to embark on an International Tour during 2012 but to keep her busy the next major competitions Jeannie has qualified for the British International Disability Swimming Championships which double as the Paralympic trials in April, Cerebral Palsy (CP) Sport National Swimming Championships in April, the Scottish National Open Swimming Championships at the end of June and she will also be completing the Great North Swim in Windermere for Charity. Jeannie was very please to receive the award and said: "I intend to use the grant money primarily for all the travel costs to/from training/competitions across the UK. I have a busy year ahead and the Cumbria Talented Athlete grant will come in handy to cover these costs. I look forward to attend Cumbria School Games events throughout the year as an ambassador for Active Cumbria and hope I can inspire some young people to get more involved in sport."
  • Sarah Jones of Barrow-In-Furness is a talented athlete in Orienteering. Sarah has been selected to be part of the British Orienteering talent development squad. This is allowing Sarah to train with elite athletes in the world of orienteering. Sarah is hoping to qualify for the Junior European Championships and the Junior World Championships in 2012 and will need to focus her training on performing well at selection races during Easter time.
  • Simon Lawson of Maryport is a talented athlete in Wheelchair Racing. Simon set the fastest 10k road time in the UK for 2011 of 21min 46 sec. Simon had a great performance at the Switzerland Marathon and achieved a time of 1hr 36min which is well within the Olympic A Standard qualifying time of 1hr 40min. Simon has just returned from Portugal where he came 6th in an international  half marathon and also set his new fastest half marathon time of 47min 48sec and has been invited to race a marathon in Seoul. Simon's dream would be to qualify for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Richard Johnston, Partnership Manager at Active Cumbria said,

"I'm delighted to be able to offer Cumbria Talented Athlete Fund grants for the third year. The funding provided by Cumbria County Council, South Lakeland District Council and Allerdale Borough Council will really make a difference to the elite sports performers we have in Cumbria. It will hopefully help them take the next step in their sporting careers and catapult them to Olympic or Paralympic success in 2012 or 2016.

The fund has been a huge success in Cumbria and makes a real difference to the recipients. We had a really good mix of athletes representing a whole range of sports last year and we are keen to do the same again. We would love the fund to continue beyond 2012 but this would require more organisations or businesses coming forward and offering their support".

Councillor Eddie Martin, Leader of Cumbria County Council, said: "The Cumbria Talented Athlete Fund is a fantastic initiative that we at the county council are delighted to support.

"We're very lucky in Cumbria to have such an array of wonderful athletes in a wide range of sports who I'm sure will go on to be big achievers - possibly even at an Olympic or Paralympic level.

Through their efforts these athletes are really putting Cumbria on the sporting map and I'm very proud of all of them."

Councillor Mark Fryer, of Allerdale Borough Council Executive member with responsibility for sports development, said:

"This funding was put in place to encourage budding young sportsmen and women in the run up to the Olympics and I am delighted that young people from this borough have benefited from this specific funding to develop in their field of sporting expertise."

As part of the grant award, recipients are asked to help promote sport throughout the county are various events as Cumbria Talented Athlete Ambassadors. This was officially recognised by London Organising Committee for Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) in 2010 by awarding Active Cumbria an Inspire Mark.

To find out more about the Fund and how your business can support Cumbrias' talented athletes please click on
For further details please contact Richard Johnston at Active Cumbria on 01228 226885.

As of March 20th 2012 Cumbria Talented Athlete Fund hadsupported 84 athletes in total from two elements of the fund 15 were awarded grants of £500 from the Performance element of the fund equating to £7,500. 69 award grants of £250 from the Potential element of the fund equating to £17,250. In total £24,750 worth of grants have been given to date.

2011 Performance Fun recipients were:
• Abbie Hetherington (Athletics and Cross Country) - Wigton 
• Ashley Hill (Alpine Skiing) - Natland 
• Michael Horley (Judo) - Carlisle 
• Victoria Johnston (Triathlon) - Penrith 
• Nick Miller (Athletics, Hammer discipline) - Carlisle 
2010 Performance Fund recipients were:
• Charlotte Watson (Orienteering)  - Allerdale
• Sebastian Crookall Nixon (Golf) - Allerdale
• Dylan Smith (Water Polo) - Carlisle
• Glen Robinson (Water Polo) - South Lakeland
• Kelly Greenbank (Skiing) - South Lakeland