TWO sisters were among 13 talented youngsters from the Henley area whose achievements have been recognised with cash rewards.
Briony Hearn, 16, and her 11-year-old sister Rowena, from Ipsden, received £250 each for their sporting achievements at South Oxfordshire District Council’s annual Young Achievers Awards, held at Benson parish hall on Friday.
Both girls have played for Wallingford Hockey Club since they were four and represent the county in their respective age groups.
Briony, who attends St Helen and St Katharine School in Abingdon, is a level one coach and helps to train Wallingford under-12s. She also plays under-19s lacrosse for the South-West, cricket for Berkshire and rounders for England.
She said: “I feel very fortunate to be able to spend my free time doing something I love. The success of the GB ladies’ hockey team at the London Olympics was inspirational for me.
“Hockey is my favourite sport. I have to do lots of training but it’s something I really enjoy. Sport has presented me with some fantastic opportunities, including travel, but without the support of my coaches, parents, club and school, none of this would be possible.”
Rowena, a pupil at Goring Primary School, has a contract with Reading Football Club and was runner-up in the junior national Bushido Zazen judo championships last year.She also attends Woodcote Swimming Club and was part of her school’s combined year five and six swim team which won the Oxfordshire School Games last year.
Rowena says she is inspired by Briony and their 18-year-old brother Gregor, who also plays for Wallingford Hockey Club.
“My sister and my brother have played these sports so they have taught me how to do most of them,” she said. “I really like hockey and football but I can’t really decide between them.”
The girls’ parents, Vicki and Kevin, met at Durham University, where Mrs Hearn was the fixtures secretary for their college’s rugby team.
Mrs Hearn, project manager for the Nominet trust, used to play for Wallingford Hockey Club, and her husband, a technical manager, competed in fencing competitions.
Mrs Hearn said: “The children all started playing hockey and football from a very early age and they’ve developed and transferred their talents to other sports. We have encouraged them, even though it is extremely time-consuming, because they get so much from sport in terms of self-confidence and achievement as well as socially.”
The council awards celebrate excellence in sport, the arts and citizenship by 11- to 18-year-olds from across the district.
The other cash recipients included 14-year-old Amy Herrington, who attends Gillotts School in Henley.Amy, of Damer Gardens, Henley, won her second young achievers award after she broke the Berkshire championship record for the hammer throw last April.
She trains with BBC sports commentator Paul Dickenson and is a member of Reading Athletics Club, which she joined after her teacher at Trinity School saw her potential. She also competes in discus and shotput.
Her 16-year-old sister, Lauren, is also a member of the club and a former young achievers award winner.
Fellow Gillotts pupil Ellysha Franklin, 13, of Clements Road, Henley, also received £250. Last year, she was rated the best pentathlete in the country for her age group.
Daniel Rumble, 15, from Chazey Heath, was one of three youngsters recognised for their achievements in
citizenship. The Langtree School pupil volunteers for Bishopswood School in Sonning Common, which his sister Amy attends, and the Music Club for disabled children, which is run by his mother Julie.
He will split his award money between the charities.
Arts awards were presented to Stephen Parkinson, from Goring, for his achievements in piano, trombone and flute, and Thomas Gavin, from Sonning Common, for his achievements with the bassoon and piano.
Thomas, 16, is a member of the Oxfordshire County Youth Festival. He plays piano to grade 8 standard and the bassoon to grade 7 standard.
The other seven youngsters were recognised for their sporting achievements.
Ann Broadhurst, 17, of Lockstile Way, Goring, has been competing in carriage driving and dressage competitions since she was seven.Rower Jonathan Jackson, a student at The Henley College, won a silver medal at the national championships last year.
The 17-year-old, of Chiltern Bank, Peppard Common, will compete at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta for the third time, representing Upper Thames Rowing Club.
Fellow Henley College student Sam Kirschstein received his second award for canoeing.
The 16-year-old, of Church Lane, Rotherfield Peppard, is a member of Reading Canoe Club and part of the GB canoeing team and is the third-best in his age group in the world. Alec Curtis, from Coldharbour, near Goring Heath, was recognised for his success in golf. The Abingdon School pupil has a handicap of nine.
Tara Magee, 16, from Sonning Common, plays football, hockey and rounders and is a member of the Reading football academy.
Henry Young, from Benson, was recognised for his success in clay shooting.
Janet Carr, chairman of the council, said: “There are a lot of talented young people out there and it is very important to encourage them. They are our future.”