Future Sport launch bowls over youngsters

Future Sport launch bowls over youngsters

Three Durham and England cricket stars have helped launch a new charity aimed at supporting NorthEast youngsters to pursue their sporting dreams. Graham Onions, Scott Borthwick and Ben Stokes handed over the first cash grants made by Future Sport during the cause's launch ceremony, held at the Riverside Cricket Ground, in Chester-le-Street, yesterday.


The charity was formerly Sports Aid (Northern), which has raised more than £1.5m over 30 years to help talented youngsters. It has relaunched independently, still with Northumberland-born Olympic silver medallist Mike McLeod as president. The cause will give grants of up to £500 for youngsters aged ten to 20 competing in able-bodied or disability sports, targeting disadvantaged people, for sporting costs including travel, equipment and training.

Chairman Phil Lewis said: "This is an exciting moment for sport in the NorthEast. Future Sport is committed to carrying on the work of Sports Aid, with an even greater emphasis on grass roots sport in the region.


"The grants we offer to talented young sports people can really make a difference in helping them to reach their potential and the work we are doing is going to be particularly important at a time when other financial backing is hard to find."


Yesterday's launch was compered by Peter Barron, editor of The Northern Echo, and attended by sports leaders from across the region, including Paralympic multi-gold medallist Stephen Miller.

Mr Miller said: "Sport has given me a great life and career. Through sport I've been able to go round the world and have some great experiences.


"Without help at the first step that wouldn't have happened - that's why this charity is so important."

Graham Onions said: "It's fantastic for girls and boys to be given this opportunity. This money will make a massive difference. It's an honour to be here to support them."


Paralympic hopeful Lyndon Longhorne, who received a grant and was named as the charity's first junior governor, said: "I'm over the moon. This is going to help a lot.

"It's good to have a charity like this. It will help people carry on in sport."

Future Sport gave its first seven £500 grants to:

Millie Allen, 14, from Stainton, near Stockton. Showjumper Millie's major championship wins include the Horse of the Year Show, The Royal International and the European Championships. She has also appeared on TV's Blue Peter.

Jonathan Binding, 18, from Sunderland. The number one tennis player in Durham and Cleveland, Jonathan finished the year with a national ranking of six and recently won a tennis scholarship to Durham University.

Taylor Cardus, 18, is from Middleton St George, near Darlington. Cyclist Taylor travels all over the country to compete.  He finished fifth in the National Circuit Series earlier this year and represented England in the UK School Games.

Sam Devlin, from Durham. An outstanding hockey player, Sam is Durham representative for participation in strength and fitness training with Sport England and Durham University. He plays for Richmond Men's first team, is captain of Durham Academy and is Durham's Junior Hockey Player of the Year.

Rory Gaydon, 13, from Darlington. Ranked number three tennis player in Durham county in his age group, Rory led Wellfield tennis club to the county championship for the first time in its history. He also led Hummersknott School to the national schools finals.

Lyndon Longhorne, 15, from Crook, County Durham. As a baby, Lyndon lost both legs and an arm to meningitis. He is now an international swimmer, hero for youngsters around the region and hopes to compete in the Paralympics.

Zak Willis, 14, from Thornaby, near Stockton. Gymnast Zak has already competed at elite level and has been earmarked for a slot in the GB squad for a tumbling contest in France later this year.

To get involved in Future Sport or apply for a grant check out the other sections of this website, email enquiries@futuresport-ne.co.uk or call 0191 499 1569.