Some of Teesside’s finest young sporting talents have celebrated a £50,000 milestone for a charity fund that’s given them vital financial support.
Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s FAST Fund has shared £50,000 in grants between 50 local sportspeople who have the talent but not necessarily the finances to reach the top in their chosen sport.
Over the past two years The FAST Fund – which stands for Financial Assistance for Sportspeople on Teesside – has made much-needed grant donations to athletes, swimmers, cyclists, powerchair footballers, boxers, canoeists, rugby players, ice hockey players, martial artists, footballers, wheelchair basketball players and many more.
Many of the winners gathered for a celebratory photograph at Middlesbrough Sports Village, with sprinter Amy Carr receiving a trophy for her achievements since receiving £2,000 from the FAST Fund.
Eaglescliffe athlete Amy, 18, who has cerebral palsy, won three medals – two of them gold – at the inaugural International Paralympic Committee’s World Junior Championships in Switzerland in August.
Representing Great Britain, the Middlesbrough Athletics Club all-rounder took gold in the 200 metres and long jump and bronze in the 100m.
About to start studying Sports Science at York St John University, Amy now has her sights set on qualifying for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
She said: “The FAST Fund grant has been a massive help to me, helping to pay for ongoing physiotherapy costs. I’m certain I wouldn’t achieved what I have done without it.
“I’m really honoured to receive recognition from the FAST Fund ahead of so many talented local sportspeople. I’m now focusing on Commonwealth Games qualifying events later this year and in early 2018.”
Acklam Grange student Josh Cowperthwaite said his £1,100 FAST Fund grant had covered the cost of high quality trainers and running shoes that helped him recently win 3,000m gold at the Schools Games National Finals and Sunday’s Junior Great North Run.
Josh, whose ambition is to run for his country at the Olympics or World Championships, said: “The FAST Fund’s help has made a big impact on my running. There’s no way I’d have been able to get top-of-the-range running shoes without the grant.”
Seventeen-year-old BMX star Mary Johnson, who received £1,000 from the FAST Fund to purchase a portable start-gate to practice her starts, recently won back her British Championship title to go with her first National Series success.
Visually impaired tennis champion Rosine Pybus, who attended the photo shoot with her constant companion Kane, a Labrador-Golden Retriever cross, received £380 for expensive sound balls imported from Japan.
The 25-year-old, who is looking to retain her B4-5 National Championships title in October, said: “The FAST Fund is absolutely brilliant. The sound balls I train with are imported from Japan but quickly break up, so the cost soon mounts up at £10 each. My grant really helped with a big cost.”
Teesside’s three-times Olympic long jumper Chris Tomlinson sits on a committee who administrate the FAST Fund grants along with athletics coach Rick Betts and Philanthropic Foundation trustees Emma Simkins, Karl Pemberton, Harriet Spalding and Lee Bramley.
Karl, who is managing director of Stockton firm Active Chartered Financial Planners, said: “The FAST Fund has been able to help some high-profile local athletes and others who are not so well known but have shown a real talent in their chosen sport.
“We’ve heard so many brilliant stories from Teesside sportspeople who we’ve been delighted to help take steps towards fulfilling their potential.”
- The FAST Fund is now looking for more FAST Fund applications ahead of an October 31 deadline. For more details visit www.fastfund.org.uk.