10/04/17: £1,500 for local kickboxers who will represent Britain

Three kickboxers who will represent Great Britain in the 2017 World Martial Arts Games in Florida in September have each been awarded a £500 Gifted and Talented grant by Breckland Council. 

The grants will help cover competition costs such as air fares and accommodation.

All three recipients train at Tom's Kickboxing Academy in Shipdham, a martial arts academy for adults and children of all ages and abilities. Their grant applications were backed by Chris Hemstock, Director of the National Martial Arts Committee of Great Britain, following their selection for the GB team.

Ten year old Bonnie Chamberlin from Bradenham has had four fights to date, with no losses. She has reached green belt level and Mr Hemstock says that she now 'has a very bright future to look forward to'.

Cllrs John Rogers and Theresa Hewett, Breckland Council ward members for Saham Toney said: "Bonnie has done amazingly well to achieve so much in such a short time - she is clearly dedicated to her sport. Competing at such a high level will be a fantastic experience for her."

Scott Gibbons, 20 years, from Beetley has trained at the Academy for the past four years and has achieved the grade of 2nd Dan black belt. He is also an instructor at the club. Mr Hemstock commented that Mr Gibbons had demonstrated great potential in both the Area and National Championships.

Cllrs Robert Richmond and Richard Duffield, Breckland Council members for the Lincoln ward said: "Mr Gibbons narrowly missed out on competing in the World Games in Africa in 2016, so it's great news that he has been selected to represent Britain this year in Florida. We're pleased that we were able to award this grant to support him in this exciting world contest."

The third grant recipient, 25-year-old Thomas Oldridge from Swaffham, owns the Shipdham kickboxing academy and also teaches there. His impressive achievements to date include reaching 3rd Dan black belt and 15 fights with no losses.

Cllrs Shirley Matthews and Paul Darby, Breckland Council ward members for Swaffham said: "It is a fantastic achievement for a local academy to have so many members competing at such a high level. We wish Mr Oldridge and all those competing every success in Florida."

Breckland Council offers a range of grant schemes that support both individuals and community projects. For more information, contact the Norfolk Community Foundation on Tel 01603 623958, or email grants@norfolkfoundation.com.