Longridge Canoe Club’s Georgia Carmichael, 15 from Bourne End in Buckinghamshire, was awarded £1,000 from SportsAid’s Bucks Sporting Lunch Club last Friday (28 April). 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 the British Canoeing English National Talent Squad (ENTS) meaning that she is earmarked to compete on the world stage and hopefully eventually at the Olympics. Georgia is already on track after becoming National Sprint Champion Girls U14 at the Nottingham National Regatta and the National Marathon Champion Girls U14 at Reading in 2016.
Georgia will use her award towards the travel costs involved with competing and a new boat bag. The money may also help with 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 backing from her school, Claires Court in Maidenhead, and the support she receives from the headmaster Mr Bevis.
Georgia’s ultimate aim is to compete at 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.
“I would like to say a massive thank you to SportsAid and the Bucks Sporting Lunch Club for this award,” said Georgia – who was given time off by Mr Bevis to collect her 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.”
Georgia was presented with her award by Dame Katherine Grainger, who acted as headline speaker at the Lunch Club, a week after her appointment as Chair of UK Sport. Katherine is Britain’s most decorated female Olympic athlete after winning medals at five successive Games. She told the audience ‘one of the brilliant things about sport is you're never doing it alone – you have all this support from your family, coaches and SportsAid funding to help. It's so wonderful and will enrich your life’.
You can find out more about the Bucks Sporting Lunch Club by clicking here.