Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Youngsters awarded grants by district council

TWO tap dancers were among seven talented youngsters from the Henley area to receive cash awards.

TWO tap dancers were among seven talented youngsters from the Henley area to receive cash awards.

Astrid Tozer, 12, and Kia Lawrence, 15, put their £250 prizes towards a trip to Germany to represent England at the Tap World Championships last week. Kia won two gold medals and Astrid one.

Their achievements were recognised at South Oxfordshire District Council’s annual Young Achiever Awards.

The awards celebrate excellence in sport, the arts and citizenship by 11- to 18-year-olds from across the district. A total of 32 youngsters received either £100 or £250 each.

Astrid, who lives in South Stoke Road, Woodcote, and attends Langtree School, began learning to dance when she was two.

She joined Dance Connection, which runs classes at the village hall, and is now a member of Tap Attack, which is based in Swindon.

Astrid, who also dances ballet and modern and won gold at last year’s world championships, said: “When I was younger I used to walk past the village hall and saw people dancing and I wanted to be like them.

“I love dancing because it is a break from everything and is really fun. You start at grade one and then you go up the grades and learn more difficult steps and routines.”

Astrid says her favourite dance is technical jazz because she enjoys the kicks and hopes to keep dancing for as long as possible.

“When I am 18 I will probably audition for a big dance college in London,” she said.

Astrid lives with her parents, Tracey, a mental health nurse at Flint House in Goring, and Nigel, a scientist, and brother, Harry, 15, who also attends Langtree.

Kia, 14, of Orchard Coombe, Whitchurch, also learned to dance at Dance Connection, which is run by her aunt. Now she is also a member of Tap Attack and has sessions at TPAI dance and drama in Reading three times a week.

Kia said: “I have done dance almost all my life and have made some really good friends.” She won gold in Germany in the junior small and junior formation categories, competing against about 30 other teams.

Kia said: “I couldn’t really believe that we had won. It still hasn’t really sunk in yet but I’m really, really, pleased.

“I also came seventh in the trio, where we did a sassy up-beat routine, performing with my cousin.”

Kia raised money for her trip by holding a cake sale and putting sponsorship forms around her school, Bradfield College.

She also gave a talk about her experiences at Stoke Row Primary, which her five-year-old sister Ifla Kitty attends.

The girls live with their parents, Sheryl, a hairdresser, and Michael, a carpenter, and have an 18-year-old brother, Taylor.

Brother and sister Scott and Isobel Barnett, of Gravel Hill Crescent, Peppard Common, also received cash awards. Scott, 15, started swimming at Henley Swimming Club when he was eight before moving to Reading Swimming Club so that he could take part in competitive galas.

He said: “After about a year I got into the county championships and this year I got into the South-East championships.”

Training consists of up to nine sessions a week, before and after attending Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common.

Scott said: “You get up at 4.45am, have training for about one hour and 45 minutes before coming home, having breakfast and going to school. You get used to it.” He plans to put his prize money towards a new racing suit.

Isobel, 13, competes in the triathlon — swimming, cycling and running — and has been member of Tri-Henley since May.

She said: “I like how there are three events in one. I have done quite well and a few months ago I came first out of around 50 people in the Dorney Lake Triathlon.”

Isobel recently finished second in the county for 200m butterfly.

The childen’s mother, Julie, is a swimming teacher at Sonning Common Primary School and her father, Chris is a project manager.

Sculler Bruce Turnell, 15, of Gillotts Lane, Henley, has put his prize towards paying off a loan to buy a 7m single scull from GB rower Olivia Carnegie-Brown.

Bruce, who is a member of Henley Rowing Club, said: “I didn’t have enough money to buy it so I was loaned some by my parents and I am gradually paying them back.

“Hopefully I will win gold at the national schools in May. I think that’s a realistic ambition. We got bronze last year and we are a lot stronger and efficient and delivering better.”

Money was also awarded to siblings Jack and Lily Stevens, from Sonning Common. Jack, 14, a pupil at Chiltern Edge School, plays for Oxford United and Lily, 17, attends the John Madejski Football Academy.

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