Rising Stars Stories

Below are several stories from families that we have helped with our rising stars bursary.

Jay Taylor getting some air

Jay goes from strength to strength in his BMX Racing Sport

Jay started BMX racing since he was 9 years old. Jay's dad, Scott Main, who has been a postman in East Kilbride Delivery Office for 24yrs, has followed in his son's footsteps and is now also a champion himself finishing 6th nationally and qualifying for competing in Nantes next year.

Meanwhile Jay who is now 14yrs old and races for Cumbernauld Centurions. In his first-year racing as novice Jay won overall first place for the season, winning all his races. He then started racing as an expert in Scotland & North of England where he had to step up a gear to compete with the faster riders and has been going from strength to strength, year on year. Jay was chosen to be the flag bearer at the European Games for cycling which was a huge honour.

Through lockdown Jay continued to train and attend Zoom coaching sessions with Mark Seaman to ensure he remained race fit. Following an injury that he sustained in March 21, Jay was required to wear a knee brace for 10 weeks. On his first race back 1 week after getting his brace off he took his Cruiser bike round the track so he could pick up qualification rounds to make the British team (representing Scotland). With all age groups merged for the Cruiser, Jay was the youngest and Jay won the points for his age group, finishing 3rd overall.

Jay wants to make the World Championships (and eventually the Olympics one day) and knows he has a lot to work ahead of him. The world's are within touching distance for him which will be another great opportunity and with the different class of riders again.

Jay is never on a normal bike so will only ever be on a bike at track which can be between 3-5 times per week or when his dad can take him to the bike trails.

The money that the Postal Family Fund provided went towards his new Cruiser bike. Maryanne, Jay's mum, says "without the grant from the Postal Family Fund I would not have been able to have afforded the higher spec bike or all the zoom sessions which have allowed Jay to be in the position he is currently in".

Ben at the Bolsover Brass Band School July 2021

Ben at the Bolsover Brass Band School July 2021.

Ben perfects his musical skills at the 2021 Bolsover International Brass Band School

Samantha Waddington, Ben's mum told us: "Ben is a very keen musician – playing percussion in the first section of the Forest of Dean Brass Band. This year Ben got 9 for his music in the GCSEs and was awarded the Old Cryptionian bursary for his music and has won a stagecraft award that was presented at his school Speech Day in September. Last year he competed with the Filton Brass Band in the Welsh Open in 2020 and this year the Postal Family Fund has helped Ben attend the 2021 Bolsover International Brass Band School.

Ben tells us about the Brass Band School: "this was a new experience for me, and it was great to meet new people and to play within a different ensemble for the first time in 18 months. I enjoyed the choice of music and how each piece was able to push me to be a better player, but to also learn from the best in the country which is something you don't get to do every day. I am thankful to the Postal Family Fund for granting me the money which funded me on this course and without them I wouldn't have been able to experience this event which is one which I will never forget. The extra money left over after the course was also put towards furthering my percussion equipment by buying Timpani sticks which allow me to achieve different timbres out of the timpani's and this was only achieved due to the generosity of the Postal Family Fund.

Ben has just won a place in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and will hopefully play at the proms next year.

Samantha has worked for Royal Mail since 2015 and was one of many who has been able to successfully apply for a Rising Stars Bursary

Heidi Crncan with her father

Heidi Crncan with her father, Tim.

Heidi serving

Heidi's ambition is to play at Wimbledon

Budding tennis star 13-year-old Heidi Crncan, who is ranked 7th in Great Britain for girl singles players of her age, received her third the Postal Family Fund "Rising Stars" bursary in November 2020. Her previous awards were given in 2017 and 2019. The bursaries are used to pay for coaching sessions and equipment, such as racquets and trainers.

"I am very grateful for the funding the Postal Family Fund has given me over the past few years. This money has really helped me in my tennis career so far. It has provided me with the opportunity to play a sport, which is played by others in a much more privileged position", said Heidi.

Heidi was selected to be part of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) Player Pathway programme at Edgbaston Priory Tennis Centre from September 2020 for talented young players thought to have real potential in the sport. She was chosen based on her tournament results at the age of 12 and is now in the age 14 and under category.

Heidi's current coach, David Brewer, is the Head Coach at the Edgbaston Centre and was once one of the world's top junior tennis players.

Aged just five, Heidi started tennis lessons at The Albert Lawn Tennis Club in Wolverhampton where she lives. When she was nine years old she began lessons at the Tipton Sports Academy and the head coach there, Craig Unitt, told her parents and the Head Teacher at Heidi's school "Having coached a number of young players previously, who have gone on to achieve full scholarships at American Universities due to their tennis ability, I am certain that Heidi is on track to achieving this level. This would give her a tremendous opportunity in higher education, as well as continuing on the tennis player pathway with opportunities to compete at a very high level."

Heidi with a trophy

Heidi with a trophy won in an 18U tournament.

Heidi's school has been very supportive of her tennis ambitions and allows her time away from certain lessons to attend training sessions. Heidi also trains from Monday to Friday three hours a day on average before or after school at the Edgbaston Centre.

Prior to Covid-19, Heidi had entered some 30 local and regional tennis tournaments and between August 2019 and February 2020 she won two under 14 and three under 16 tournaments. Also in 2020 she was runner-up in two under 18 singles events in Tipton and Ellesmere and reached the last 16 in two National tournaments for under 14s and under 16s held in Bolton in October 2020.

Tim Crncan, Heidi's father, works for Royal Mail at the North West Mail Centre as an IMP operator.

Heidi's mother, Suzana, told us "The Postal Family Fund bursaries have been a godsend to Heidi's tennis journey. The money has allowed us to afford top class coaching and all the necessary equipment. Heidi simply loves playing tennis. It is a very lonely sport with nowhere to hide on the court and the mental strength needed to win a match should never be underestimated. Players at a young age can find it tough. Heidi is always encouraged to play with a smile on her face, but she is a very determined youngster who always gives 100 per cent. Her ambitions at 18 is to gain a tennis scholarship to a University in the USA and ultimately to play at Wimbledon."

Ethan Burr with his new saxophone

Ethan Burr with his new saxophone.

Living and breathing music

Music has been Ethan Burr's life since he was a small child. Aged 17 in August 2020, he received his second "Rising Stars" Bursary from the Postal Family Fund in June and it was used to buy a new saxophone. His main instrument is the alto saxophone, which he has been playing since he was nine years old. Ethan was due to take his ABRSM Grade 7 Saxophone Exam in March, but it was postponed because of Covid-19. Ethan's mother, Sarah Burr, told us "We were lucky to meet an amazing saxophone teacher who sparked his love for the instrument."

"I live and breathe music and it will always be a major part of my life whether as a career or a hobby. I have an eclectic array of styles I like, from rock to classical and indie to folk. Performing solo is great, but I also love playing in bands. I have taught myself to play the guitar. I love the flexibility of the different instruments. My more recent passion is song writing and hearing a band perform my songs is the best feeling in the world", said Ethan.

The band 'Hi-Jacked' with Ethan right.

Ethan is a member of an alternative rock band called 'Hi-Jacked' with two of his friends. He is also in a band called 'After the Silence' comprising 5 members playing original rock songs. In these bands he plays bass, electric and acoustic guitar as well as tenor saxophone. The bands play in local venues around Somerset. Ethan is also a member of an orchestra with his saxophone playing songs from James Bond scores through to 'ELO', 'Baker Street' and theatre scores of the hit musicals 'Cats' and 'Fiddler on the Roof'. Additionally he is in a jazz and wind band which performs free concerts at Christmas etc.

He would love to combine a rewarding career, whilst continuing to write songs, perform and entertain people with his music. Next year Ethan will be taking his A-Levels and he is planning on going to University in September 2021. Ethan said "I have been exceptionally lucky to have received these the Postal Family Fund bursaries. They have made a huge difference to my future in music and have enabled me to advance my approach to education, composing and performing live."

Ethan's father, David Burr, has been a postman for 23 years at the Royal Mail Minehead depot in Somerset. He has worked several different rounds and at present is on a beautiful rural round, which is stunning in Summer, but not so much fun in Winter!

Hannah Lancaster and family

Hannah Lancaster and family.

Canoeing girl's rapid progress

Hannah Lancaster was 12 years old when she was awarded a the Postal Family Fund Rising Stars bursary in December 2018 and the previous month she was selected to join the British Canoeing Northern Regional Talent Academy (NRTA).

Hannah's mother Nicola told us "The timing of the bursary could not have been better, because in order to progress in the sport Hannah needed to have her own slalom boat built for her."

"I designed the boat myself and TJ Composites built it. I was so excited to finally get my boat in April 2019", Hannah said.

"In August I went to France for the first time for a week at a training camp where I won the 'Rolling competition' (where the canoe rolls over 360 degrees) and was joint 'Paddler of the Camp'. I was finally seeing the performances I needed and was setting a number of personal bests. I won first junior and first junior aged 14 at two national competitions and ended the season in 17th position among the 84 girl and women canoeists of all ages, who compete against each other in Division 2", she said.

Hannah's goal for 2020 is to be promoted to Division 1.

Hannah's family live in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. In May 2016 Hannah's mother took out a family membership at Manvers Waterfront Boat Club at Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham for herself, her husband David, Hannah and her younger sister Evie. "I took Hannah and Evie to Manvers lake for their first kayak taster session. Hannah enjoyed it so much she could not wait for the next session. In July that year, Hannah was the youngest member of the Club to pass her 1 Star Award in Kayaking. Two months later there was a slalom "Try it" event and the following day Hannah entered her first competition", said Nicola.

David Lancaster has worked as a postman since 2006, originally at Ossett, which was amalgamated with Batley in 2016, and he is now with Wombwell Delivery Office near Barnsley. He recently took up white water kayaking to be able to go on river trips with the two children.

Hannah has progressed rapidly, competing in national competitions and with the NRTA and Yorkshire Slalom training group is gaining more experience on faster white water. We look forward to seeing her further progress.

Lola and Tilly with Minnie Mouse

Lola and Tilly with Minnie Mouse.

Dancing in Disneyland Paris

Lola and Tilly's parents applied for a the Postal Family Fund "Rising Stars" bursary in September 2018 to help fulfil their daughters' dance ambitions. Dad Steven Soal has worked as a postman for Royal Mail in Ryde on the Isle of Wight for 21 years.

Lola and Tilly, aged 12 and 10 respectively, were selected with other dancers from their Dance Academy to take part and perform in a 3-day competition in Disneyland Paris in March this year run by the IFDPA (International Festival of Dance and Performing Arts).

Tilly (left) and Lola with their medals from the competition

Tilly (left) and Lola with their medals from the competition.

Their Academy had to apply to Disney and send a video of one of their dance routines for approval before they were accepted to take part in the competition alongside other dance schools from many countries around the world.

"It was an amazing and special time for Lola and Tilly. In addition to the dance competition they also performed on the Videopolis Disney stage for anyone in the Park to come and see. The highlight on the last day was dancing with the other dance schools at the head of the main Disney Parade with all the Disney characters and colourful floats along the famous main street in front of a very big crowd waving and cheering them," their Mum Sandra told us.

For the Parade the dancers performed a pre-choreographed dance routine sent from Disney to rehearse before the event.

Lola said "We loved it so much at Disneyland. The competition was amazing and our Dance School won lots of awards. It has helped our confidence a great deal. We also loved our short time in the Disney Park after the competitions were done and we got to meet the Disney characters. It was so fun."

"Steve and I have found the the Postal Family Fund grant to be such a great incentive to our family as it has helped our children to fulfil their dream to visit Disneyland and do what they love there. They got to compete at an international level and it has given them a great insight into dancing outside of their usual comfort zones, as well as making amazing memories for them, thanks to the Postal Family Fund," said Sandra.

Both Lola and Tilly are continuing to work hard to improve their dance techniques and learn new dances, doing their exam classes and entering competitions.

Doing the splits, warming up before going on stage

Doing the splits, warming up before going on stage.

Louis with father Ken and his Award

Louis with father Ken and his Award.

"Highly Commended" Award for Louis

A "Highly Commended" Award went to 11-year-old rising Table Tennis star Louis Cheung-Turner in the prestigious 2019 Sefton Sports Awards in June, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to sport in the Sefton area, Merseyside.

Sports Personality of the Year award

Louis, along with four other worthy nominees, was nominated for the category 'Junior Sports Personality of the Year' at this year's Awards ceremony.

The winner of the prestigious award was 14-year-old Jack Wishart for his national and international medal success in Taekwondo. Well done to Louis for coming runner up in this category of junior rising stars and being recognised for his contribution to sport in the region.

Louis in action.

Louis in action.

A Rising Star of Table Tennis

Louis Cheung-Turner, who was awarded a the Postal Family Fund "Rising Stars" bursary in 2018, is a rising star in the junior table tennis world.

He started playing table tennis in after-school club three years ago when he was 8 years of age. His coach, Paul Gittins soon spotted Louis had a special talent and he introduced Louis and his parents to Andrew Rushton, who at the time was Head Coach at Halton Table Tennis Club in Widnes. Andrew is a former National and World Doubles' Champion and Commonwealth Games medallist, and is now a GB Paralympic Performance Coach. Louis trains at Halton Table Tennis Club with Kevin Dolder and also continues to have coaching with Andrew Rushton.

Louis competed in his first full table tennis season in 2017/18 and became National Champion for U10 Boys in June 2018. He was also England No.1 for U10 Boys from March 2018 and then U11 Boys up until March 2019. Currently ranked England No.2 for U11 Boys and No.8 for U12 Boys. Louis competed in his first International Open Table Tennis Tournament in February 2018 in Budapest, Hungary, when he was 9 years old and again in the same tournament last February, where he reached the last 16 from 56 players, representing 24 countries.

Louis with his parents in Budapest.

Louis with his parents in Budapest.

In August 2018, Louis was selected for the England Hopes Squad and in April this year he was chosen to represent England at the British Primary Schools' Home International Championships in Lisburn, Northern Ireland where he was in the gold winning England team. Most recently, on 27th April, Louis competed in the English Schools' Individual Championships in Wolverhampton, representing Merseyside and Great Crosby Catholic Primary School and reached the quarter-finals. It was a strong competition with 46 players / counties competing.

Louis' father, Ken, who has worked for Royal Mail Mossley Hill Sorting Office in Liverpool for 20 years, can play table tennis, but he can't compete with Louis now!

Louis and his England team mates in Lisburn.

Louis and his England team mates in Lisburn.

Mel, Louis' mother, told us "The Postal Family Fund grant has helped enormously towards covering expenses for training camps, tournament costs, travel and accommodation, which comes with competing in many tournaments nationwide and internationally. Louis is also sponsored by table tennis equipment and clothing supplier, Thornton's Table Tennis and Stiga, a leading brand name in the sport, which helps considerably towards the cost of table tennis equipment and clothing which can be expensive."

"It is important for Louis' development that he continues to train at the highest level with England / GB coaches and the coaches at his club. Also representing his country in an international arena where possible. International experience at a young age is invaluable for athletes in any sport," said Mel.

And Louis' ultimate dream and ambition would be to represent Great Britain at the Olympics one day!

Isabella Deb dancing to a Paquita variation.

Isabella dancing to a Paquita variation.

Dreaming of a career in Dance

Isabella Deb, who turned 13 years of age on 24th March 2019, received her first the Postal Family Fund "Rising Stars" bursary in December 2017 to help with the cost of her dance training and last December her second bursary secured her dance training with the highly regarded Renaissance Arts Scholars whose dance classes are held at Northern Ballet Leeds where she trains fortnightly on a Sunday. Isabella was also re-accepted for the York Scholars training course for a further year. Her training covers Classical Ballet, Modern and Song and Dance.

Isabella's father, Roy Deb, is a professional HGV driver at the Yorkshire Distribution Centre in Normanton, Wakefield and has worked for Royal Mail since 2001. He told us "The bursaries awarded by the Postal Family Fund have helped us immensely to enable our daughter to further her dance training across two excellent centres, in addition to her regular classes. Dance training can be very expensive and the extra funding makes such a difference."

Isabella Deb playing Nancy from Oliver, performing Oom-pah-pah.

Isabella playing Nancy from Oliver, performing Oom-pah-pah.

Isabella has been dancing since she was aged 5 and currently dances at the Turning Pointe Dance studios in Doncaster. She was also accepted into the Louise Browne Yorkshire Ballet Scholarship Centre when she was 9 years old. In July 2018 Isabella achieved a Distinction in her Grade 5 Royal Academy of Dance Ballet exam and has recently taken her RAD Intermediate Foundation examination.

Mum, Lisa, said "Isabella would like to focus on her training rather than spend too much time in Competition Dance as it demands a lot of time away from her important training programmes. We are really pleased with Isabella's progress this year. She continues to show focus and improvement in all areas, taking classes 6 or 7 days every week and most importantly she thoroughly enjoys what she is doing."

Isabella currently assists junior dancers at her dance school in Doncaster for about 5 hours a week under the supervision of the principal Miss Kimberley Roberts. She has recently started working to gain a pre-associate qualification with the International Dance Teachers Association, which is the first step towards gaining an associate teaching qualification. "I enjoy the experience as I learn so much from it and I find it is improving my confidence," said Isabella. As part of the syllabus she will learn the correct techniques and skills required to assist a qualified teacher, including a thorough understand of anatomy and physiology.

"My family has sacrificed a lot to make sure I can follow my dream of becoming a professional dancer and the support of the Postal Family Fund has helped me greatly", Isabella said.

Esther with her proud parents Adunola and Ayinke.

Esther with her proud parents Adunola and Ayinke.

15-year-old has mental health book published

The 15-year-old daughter of a Royal Mail postman, Adunola Showemimo, has had a book on mental health for teens, "People Like Us", published last November. Adunola has worked at the Stanstead Airport cargo section as an OPG for 10 years.

His daughter, Esther, wrote the book with a 16-year-old friend, Daisy Robins, who shares her passion for helping young people with mental health issues. The book explores the reality of teens trying to navigate their way through a technology dictated world and the mental health issues they have. It took five months to plan, write and edit the book.

Esther Showemimo.

Esther Showemimo.

Esther said "The book is meant to be a tool to provide comfort and advice for teens across the world, who feel they have no one to care or provide support for them. I believe young people do not receive enough support on mental health issues."

Esther is Head Girl at Harris Academy in Rainham, Essex and will shortly be starting sixth form college.

The launch event for "People Like Us" took place at Esther's school on 21 November 2018 and was aimed at promoting a conversation surrounding technology and mental health issues in teens. The launch was covered by the Romford Recorder and a detailed story was carried on their on-line news pages.

The book is currently being sold on Amazon as a paperback in Europe, USA and Japan.

The front cover of People Like Us

The cover of "People Like Us".

"I am extremely grateful to the Postal Family Fund for providing me with a grant that will allow me to travel and to buy tickets to events where I can publicise the book," Esther said.

Esther does support work for Cypher App Ltd., a mental health company that encourages young people to anonymously share their feelings and seek advice from professional organisations regarding their wellbeing. It was the CEO of Cypher App, Seun Oshinaika, who encouraged Esther and her friend to write the book as a project, giving them only rough ideas around the topic to help them.

Esther is a co-founder at Cypher App. She moderates the site's backend system, reading the comments and posts to flag up anything that goes against the safeguarding guidelines. She is also a member of the human resources team, helping to plan group meetings and social events for the team.

"At school, I was encouraged by the head of the school council to sign up for the Havering Youth Council when I was aged 12. I took part in many mental health related projects over a few years and I developed a love for helping people in need," Esther said.

This set her on the path she is now on.

Callie Ramshaw in the 200m Butterfly

Callie in Butterfly action.

A Rising Star of swimming

A Postal Family Fund "Rising Stars" bursary was awarded to Callie Ramshaw in December 2017 to help improve her already advanced swimming ability. Callie started swimming competitively aged nine and joined Doncaster Darts Swimming Club Elite programme when she was just 10 years old. She concentrates on the butterfly and freestyle strokes, competing at County and National level.

Callie swam in 71 races in 13 different competitions last year. She qualified in the top 20 in the country to compete in the English National Swimming Championships in the 200m butterfly, which took place on 3rd August 2018 at Ponds Forge in Sheffield, and she finished seventh in the final. Callie was among a select group to go on a training camp in Majorca last October for more specialist training.

Callie Ramshaw

Callie with her Yorkshire Championship trophy.

Over three weekends in February this year, Callie competed in the Yorkshire Swimming Championships in Leeds and Sheffield over 11 different events in the 16 year age group. It was her most successful Yorkshire Championships where she made it to the final of all 11 events and won the Gold medal in the 800m freestyle, becoming Yorkshire Champion. Callie also won the Silver medal in the 1500m freestyle. Two fantastic swims.

Callie's father, Stephen Ramshaw, has worked for Royal Mail for nearly 14 years as a delivery postman at Doncaster delivery office. He said "Before the Postal Family Fund bursary my wife and I had to pay for all of Callie's training, equipment, costumes, entry fees to competitions, hotel costs for national and regional competitions etc. The bursary has helped us a great deal. It would have been impossible for Callie to attend the intensive training camp in Majorca last year without it and she has been selected again to attend another training camp in Fuerteventura in October 2019."

As part of Callie's normal swimming routine, on three weekday mornings she is in the pool at 5am. Dad Stephen drops her off at 4.45am and sleeps in the car until he has to start work. Mum, Sue, picks her up at 7am to take her to school. On three weekday evenings Dad takes Callie for 2 to 3 hour training sessions in the pool and on one evening she has one hour's land training as well.

"Without the support of the Postal Family Fund I would not have had the opportunity to get the extra specialist training that the overseas camps provide and the chance to train in a 50m pool, which they do not have in Doncaster. I have become extremely committed to swimming over the years and I am dedicated to improving my strokes and furthering my success as a swimmer", Callie told us.

Callie is preparing to compete in the first of three National qualifying time trial events where the fastest 24 swimmers in Britain and top 20 in England go through to the British and English National Championships to be held in July and August 2019.

Alexander Harford as Lockhart

Alexander as Gilbert Worthy in the Academy's production of "Lockhart".

An actor's life for me

In June 2017 Alexander Harford successfully completed a 3-year BA Honours Degree Course at Mount View Academy of Theatre Arts in Wood Green, London, which was partly funded by a the Postal Family Fund bursary.

Alexander started the course in September 2014. He was one of only 36 budding actors to be selected by the Academy from some 6,000 applicants. "It has been the most intense three years of my life. I now have an agent and I am looking for acting work. In the meantime I have had to take a day job," Alexander told us.

Alexander Harford as Robby the Stockfish of Urintown

Alexander (centre) as Robby the Stockfish in the Academy's production of "Urintown".

"I will be forever grateful to the Postal Family Fund for making it possible for me to pursue my chosen career. Not only have they helped me, they have supported my Mum and Dad through the time I spent at drama school. Without any of this the past three years would have been a very different story, so thank you," said Alexander.

Alexander's father, Michael Harford, has been a postman for the past 26 years at Stockport, Cheshire.

Matthew Bates

Aiming to be a professional classical dancer

Matthew Bates, aged 17, whose father, Steve, is a postman at Welton, Lincolnshire, has been having dancing lessons since he was six. His dancing teacher, Joanne Haylock, encouraged Matthew to audition for The Royal Ballet School Junior Associate programme when he was in Year 3. He was successful and every other Saturday he went to Covent Garden to train. In Year 6 he successfully auditioned to join The Royal Ballet School full time – one of only 12 boys accepted each year.

Matthew Bates

From age 11, Matthew went to live and train at The Royal Ballet School at White Lodge, Richmond Park. During his Year 11, alongside his GCSEs, he successfully auditioned to join The Royal Ballet Upper School against tough international competition and started training at Covent Garden. He has to pass annual assessments to maintain his place.

In January 2017 he was selected as the only male student to represent the school in Japan where he took part in demonstrations and workshops for a week.

Matthew's mother, Helen, told us "Without the support of the the Postal Family Fund "Rising Stars" bursary and from a Music and Dance Scholarship, which is means tested, we could not have managed to pay for Matt's dance schooling. Matthew has secured his place for the next academic year at The Royal Ballet Upper School, but he will need to secure a further year if he is to make it as a professional classical dancer. His goal is to be a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet Company."

Elliot Robinson

Elliot Robinson.

A budding Yorkshire cricketer

Eleven-year-old Elliot Robinson is a budding Yorkshire cricketer, who is being helped with a the Postal Family Fund "Rising Stars" bursary of £750, which he received in November 2016. He started playing cricket when he was just 5-years-old for the Cullingworth Cobras Under 9s side. He now plays for the Cobras Under 11s and Under 13s sides as well as the Upper Airedale Junior Cricket Association, Bradford & Calderdale District.

Elliot's father, David, who is a postman at Bradford Valley, is a keen cricketer, having played since he was ten years old and today still plays and runs two junior teams.

Elliot Robinson with the bat

Elliot with the bat.

David told us "Elliot was selected for the Yorkshire under 11s A team again this year and in his first match he took four wickets. He has had cricket training from me and the Cricket Asylum and Silver Pathways at Headingley, the home of Yorkshire Cricket Club, for the last two years. Elliot's ambition is to play for Yorkshire and progress to playing for England.

"A big thank you to the Postal Family Fund for the "Rising Stars" bursary, The money we received to help Elliot's progress is a real help to the family and we really appreciate it."

Nesta Baxter - WAKO World Kickboxing Champion

Nesta with the Junior Team Winners trophy at the WAKO World Championships in Dublin 2016.

Nesta, the GB Kickboxing champion

Nesta Baxter, 17, whose father Nigel is a postman in Boston, Lincolnshire, is the reigning WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Associations) British National Champion in both styles of Kickboxing, Point Fighting and Continuous Kickboxing - and has been for the past five years. Overall, in the past five years, Nesta has claimed 10 WAKO British Champion titles.

The Postal Family Fund awarded the first of three annual Rising Stars bursaries to Nesta in 2014. "The support of these bursary funds has been a big help in my Junior amateur international Kickboxing career", said Nesta.

"I started taking Kickboxing classes at the age of 4. I began competing when I was 8 and then properly competing at a National level at the age of 12. I started representing my country at the age of 13 in September 2014 when I was selected for the WAKO GB Team to compete in the WAKO Junior European Kickboxing Championships in Poland." she told us.

Nesta's biggest achievement to date was in September last year at the WAKO World Kickboxing Championship in Dublin, where she represented Team GB in the Team Event - consisting of 4 males and 2 females - and we won the World Title.

Nesta Baxter

Nesta competing and winning in the Athens Challenge Tournament 2017.

Currently Nesta has won 28 Gold medals internationally in Greece, Croatia, Czech Republic, Holland, Spain, Scotland and Ireland.

"I would like to say a very big thank you to the Postal Family Fund for the three bursaries I have received, which have helped me so much to achieve my goals in my sport of Kickboxing, through your kindness I will be able to continue representing my country in the sport I love", said Nesta.

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