Longridge Canoe Club’s Georgia Carmichael, 15 from Bourne End in Buckinghamshire was awarded £1,000 from SportsAid’s Bucks Sporting Lunch Club on Friday 28 April 2017. Created in 2011, the club is a way for local individuals, businesses and trusts – who want to support young, talented athletes in Buckinghamshire – to raise money to help with training, travel or equipment costs.
Starting out in the sport at just 10 years old and spending a lot of family time on the river – Georgia has already been selected for British Canoeing English National Talent Squad (ENTS) meaning that she is earmarked to compete on the world stage and hopefully someday at the Olympics. Georgia is already on track after becoming National Sprint Champion Girls U14 at Nottingham National Regatta and National Marathon Champion Girls U14 at Reading in 2016.
Georgia will use her donation towards the travel costs involved with competing and a new boat bag. The money may also help towards buying a new changing tent at Longridge Canoe Club after their last one got blown away by Storm Doris.
Her commitment to the sport impressed the SportsAid trustees, particularly with her two hour training regime most days. She is particularly thankful for the support from her school, Claires Court in Maidenhead. Georgia adds:
“Mr.Bevis, my headmaster at Claires Court School, has been really supportive as he understands how sporting success can lead to academic achievement. He even gave me time off today to collect my award. Despite training nearly every day, I still want to do well at school.”
Georgia’s ultimate aim is to compete in the 2024 Olympics which will be held in either Los Angeles or Paris and she hopes to be one of two girls selected for the Youth Olympics this July in Hungary. But her greatest sporting heroes are closer to home, citing Luke Harding and Magnus Gregory, who are both canoeists at her club. Despite winning at International and National competitions they have also achieved academic success – a balance she wants to achieve.
Speaking at the lunch, Georgia said:
“I would like to say a massive thank you to SportsAid and the Bucks Sporting lunch club for this award. But none of this would be possible without our Head Coach Tom Daniels, who isn’t paid a penny, yet coaches us six days a week. I’m very grateful for the time he invests in the club and in me. Also Ollie Harding who inspired me as a new junior and is Chairman of our club”
Steve Perry, B P Collins, a trustee of Bucks Sporting Lunch Club said:
“Georgia’s story is why B P Collins’ sponsor this award. To have such a dedicated athlete competing on a national and international level at such a young age is inspiring. But training and competing are expensive. We are delighted that the £35,000 we have given to young athletes over the past six years has enabled them to further their sporting careers and gain the recognition they deserve.”
Headline speaker at the lunch club was Dame Katherine Grainger DBE, who presented Georgia with her award. Dame Katherine won Olympic silver at Rio 2016, gold at London 2012 to add to her silver medals from Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004, and Beijing in 2008, as well as six world championships titles in her collection. Katherine is Britain’s most decorated female Olympic athlete and the first British woman to win medals at five successive games. She was recently appointed the new chair of UK Sport.
Dame Katherine added:
“One of the brilliant things about sport is that you’re never doing it alone – you have all this support from your family, coaches and SportsAid funding to help you. It’s so wonderful and will enrich your life.”