Promising High Peak athletes get cash boost

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Some of the High Peak’s most talented sports stars have been inducted onto the 2016-17 ICON programme that boasts summer Olympic and Paralympic medallists Adam Peaty and Lewis White as previous recipients.

A total of 14 athletes have shared £2,350 of backing, which they can use to help meet travel, equipment, coaching or competition costs in the coming 12 months.

Each athlete has also been handed a leisure pass Places for People Leisure, who run the area’s leisure facilities on behalf of High Peak Borough Council, which will further help with their training.

They received their bursaries at a ceremony which formed part of the 2016 High Peak Sports Awards at the Pavilion Gardens Marquee last night (November 2).

All of the athletes are tipped for further success in their respective sports and have either been selected to compete for Great Britain or a home nation, have won a national championship medal, are part of a recognised national development squad or club academy structure or are a member of the Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS).

Those to receive ICON backing include judo players Scott Brelsford (Glossop), Eric Ham (Hadfield) and Jaime-Leigh Whitaker (Glossop), cyclists Charlie Craig (Hayfield) and Katie Toft (Chinley), golfer George Bloor (Chapel-en-le-Frith), cricketer Alice Dyson (Glossop) and canoeist Alastair Gill (Chapel-en-le-Frith).

Also supported by the programme are shooter Elizabeth Gould (Buxton), tennis player Louise Holtum (Bamford), water polo player Joel Leighton (Bamford), skier James Machon (Castleton), archer Thomas Susca (Glossop) and swimmer Abbie Wood (Buxton).

Hayley Lever, director of programme administrators Derbyshire Sport, spoke to explain how the ICON system works, while Mark Warburton, of Places for People Lesiure, met athletes to hand over their bursary cheques and leisure passes.

“Talented athletes from across the county, including in the High Peak, have to give up so much, make huge sacrifices and, in many cases, travel great distances to compete,” he said.

“Any help that the ICON programme and Places for People can give them to make their task that little but easier is no more than they deserve.”

High Peak Borough Council is among 10 local authorities across the county who are members of ICON, which was set up by Derbyshire Sport as part of the work to create a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympics in Derbyshire.

Since then, the programme has supported Buxton’s 2015 European Games gold medallist Wood (swimming), 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Caroline Povey (shooting) and 2016 Olympians Liam Pitchford (table tennis) and Molly Renshaw (swimming), in addition to City of Derby Swimming Club stars Peaty and White.

Find out more about ICON by going to