Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Young people with talent to take them all the way

A GOLFER was among 10 talented youngsters from the Henley area whose achievements have been recognised with cash rewards.

A GOLFER was among 10 talented youngsters from the Henley area whose achievements have been recognised with cash rewards.

Millie Anderson, 16, received £250 for her sporting achievements at South Oxfordshire District Council’s annual Young Achievers Awards, held at Benson parish hall on Wednesday last week.

The awards celebrate excellence in sport, the arts and citizenship by 11- to 18-year-olds from across the district. All the youngsters receive the same amount.

Millie was introduced to golf by her father, Lindsay, who is course manager at Badgemore Park Golf Club, where they live together with Millie’s mum, Helen, a police community support officer.

Millie, who attends The Henley College, has a handicap of eight and was ladies’ champion at the club last year. She currently captains the Oxfordshire girls’ team, who are the reigning county champions.

She said: “I was playing on and off from an early age and started playing seriously and taking part in competitions about four years ago. Once you get into it, you really want to better your previous round and there is a sense of personal achievement.”

Mr Anderson, who has been involved in green keeping since he left school, said: “Millie has been keen on golf from an early age and she kind of took to it like a duck to water.

“We live on site so she has had a lot of opportunities to play and the ladies’ section has been very kind in helping her and taking her under their wing.”

Mr Anderson, who has a handicap of 10, said: “She has overtaken me in the handicap stakes in the last six months so now she’s the best in the family.” Millie plans to put her cash award towards a new set of golf clubs. The Henley Rowing Club’s junior 15 women’s quad was recognised for its sporting achievements.

Twins Hatty and Maddie Orr, from Checkendon, Lauren Edwards, from Binfield Heath, and Ellie Thompson, from Preston Crowmarsh, have had an unbeaten season, winning 24 races.

The girls broke the course record at the Junior National Rowing Championships in July and were named young achievers of the year at the Sue Ryder Women of Achievement awards in October.

They train 19 hours a week and have two sessions on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Maddie, who attends the Abbey School in Reading with her sister, said: “We are either rowing, at school, eating or in bed. It is our social life but we enjoy it.”

The girls hope to qualify for next year’s Henley Royal Regatta and to win the junior 16 race at the Henley Women’s Regatta next year. They also hope to be chosen to represent Great Britain at the annual regatta against France in July.

Myfanwy Mountford, 17, of Russells Water, received an award for the second time.

The Henley College student is an aerobic gymnast and has been in the GB team for the last five years.

“I just love the sport,” she said. “There are always new things to achieve and you can always keep getting better. The world championships are in Mexico next year and I am hoping to qualify for them.”

Myfanwy trains five times a week with Bulmershe Gymnastics Club in Woodley. Her group has been GB champions three or four times and has medalled or reached the final at international events in France, Las Vegas, Slovenia and Bulgaria.

Matty Green, 17, of Summerfield Rise, Goring, was one of three youngsters recognised for their achievements in the arts.

The Henley College student has been acting since he was five and was chosen to take part in a National Youth Theatre intensive course in the summer, winning one of 300 places out of 4,500 applicants.

His elder sister, Laura, is a former winner of a young achievers award and now runs her own drama company, GreenRoomCollective.

Matty has also worked as an extra in television programmes and feature films including two of the Harry Potter films, Robin Hood and Never Let Me Go.

“It’s really good experience and good fun,” he said. “The dream would be to make my living doing something I love in the industry, acting or directing, I’m not really sure yet.”

Singer Matthew Maltese, from Sonning Eye, received an award for his music.

The 18-year-old, who attends The Henley College, released his debut EP, Further Than I Should, in April and it reached number six on the singer/songwriter iTunes chart.

He now plays three or four shows each month in a four-piece band and his recent gigs have included one at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho.

He said: “It was a really great feeling to be picked. It is nice to be appreciated.” Matt will put his award money towards a new acoustic guitar and to help fund travelling to gigs.

“It will help me to continue doing free gigs, which I do a lot of and usually have to save up for,” he said.

Zoe Pike, 17, of Sedgefield Close, Sonning Common, collected her second young achievers award for her aptitude in the clarinet and recorder.

The Henley College student has been playing both instruments for more than a decade and recently passed an audition to move up from the Berkshire Maestros training concert band to the main band.

She plans to put her prize money towards a new instrument.

Magnus Gregory, 14, from Pyrton, was recognised for his success in kayaking.

He is the current GB national champion for flat water kayaking for sprint and marathon in six of the nine categories.

Dorothy Brown, who chairs the council, said: “South Oxfordshire is so proud of the achievements of its young people. The diversity of their achievements is fantastic.”

Councillor Bill Service, cabinet member for grants, said: “More often than not, the efforts and dedication of young people are overlooked, so it is a pleasure to acknowledge them and also hopefully provide them with the means to take the next step in their development.”

Nominations for the next round of awards are now open. Submissions must be made by January 15. For more information, visit www.southoxon.gov.uk/grants

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