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Best of Buckinghamshire’s rising sports stars receive SportsAid boost

May 05, 2019 5 min read

Three SportsAid grants have been presented at the Bucks Sporting Lunch Club business network, which took place at Dorney Lake on Friday 3 May 2019. Buckinghamshire teenagers Izzy Tucker, a volleyball player, Ilse Owen, who competes in para equestrian dressage and Joe Murphy, a rower, were all presented with their grants by 2003 Rugby World Cup winner and former Wasps star Simon Shaw MBE.

Awardee: Isabelle Tucker, Naphill

Naphill’s Isabelle Tucker is 14 years old and an u18 England National Beach volleyball champion. Unusually for an volleyball player competing at an international level, she plays both indoor 6-a-side and beach volleyball.

Isabelle cites her mum as her greatest influence:

“I only started playing Volleyball after my mum encouraged me in the US when I was 9 years old. When we moved to Naphill, there were no volleyball clubs, so my mum decided to set one up, which helped me to make lots of friends – a difficult thing to do when you move to a new country. She is a huge support and is well on her way to securing a beach court for us in or near to High Wycombe, which is desperately needed to help me prepare for international competitions.”

This summer Isabelle will prepare for England selection in multiple international beach volleyball competitions, which means extra training costs, event entry fees, travel and hotel stays. The Sportsaid grant will help with these costs.

Awardee: Ilse Owen, Great Missenden

Great Missenden’s Ilse, a para dressage rider, has Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy, which means she cannot feel or control the right side of her body.  This can cause tension especially in cold weather conditions, but Ilse says:

“As a para-athlete you have to be resilient and I work incredibly hard to minimise those challenges.  In a way, the trials I have faced with my disability have helped me to become a stronger and more well-rounded sportswoman and individual.

“But no matter how hard I work as an athlete, the biggest challenge is finding the right horsepower to take me to a Paralympic games. I would really like to find a supportive owner with the right quality of horse to challenge for a Team GBR World Class Podium Potential Squad place in 2020.”

Ilse trains four times a week with her horse Aslan and has ambitions to be part of the Equestrian Team GBR at the Paralympics.  

Awardee: Joe Murphy, Henley on Thames

Joe Murphy lives and studies in Henley on Thames and trains at the Leander Club in the town. Joe first started rowing in his spare time after his rugby season ended, but soon found that he was winning races so decided to focus completely on his new sport.

Joe has already represented Great Britain at the Coupe De La Jeunesse, winning bronze in the double scull in 2018. He has also won a gold medal at the Head of the River Fours in 2018 and reached the semi-finals at Henley Royal Regatta in the Fawley Cup in the same year.

His goal is to represent team GB and win gold at the Henley Royal Regatta. His award money will go towards accommodation in Henley so he can continue to achieve his rowing ambitions.  Joe adds:

“I aspire to be like Pete Reed OBE, a three-time Olympic gold medallist. But my biggest hero is my father Mike Murphy, who coached me from the first day I got into a boat, until the day I left home to join the Leander Club in Henley. He was always by my side pushing me and my team mates on.”

Steve Perry, a SportsAid trustee, from B P Collins in Gerrards Cross, said at the event:

“Over the past 6 years, with the support of our local business sponsors, SportsAid has been able to help many local young people achieve their sporting potential. I am very interested in assisting any local businesses seeking a CSR opportunity, or simply welcoming them to our events and having an enjoyable time networking, safe in the in the knowledge they are also helping a young person achieve their sporting dream.”

“The variety of elite sports people competing in Buckinghamshire is fantastic to see – from volleyball, to para dressage, right through to rowing. Although the awardees compete in very different sports, each one has a complete dedication to what they’re doing, and why we believe they deserve these grants. We look forward to following their careers and hope that one day they will reach the top of their sporting dreams.”

After Simon Shaw MBE spoke to the 140 strong audience about his late development into professional rugby at 16, his sporting career and subsequent transition into business after retirement, he also commented on the awardees:

“Each young sportsperson has shown huge dedication and commitment and has made many sacrifices to get to this point in their career. Their stories are very inspirational. I hope that the funding granted to them today will help move them closer to reaching their goals of representing and winning for their country in international competitions.”

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