Boldon schoolgirl now training with Table Tennis England with help from charity Trust
A talented young table tennis player - who almost gave up the sport- is now heading to a training camp with team GB.
Twelve-year-old Sophie Richardson picked up a bat two years ago after making a return to the game.
Despite her talents she had previously given it up believing the sport was not one for her.
Now, her skills has seen her be selected to join the England 9-13 & Hopes Squad and undergo top level training in Nottingham once a month.
The England 9-13 Squad acts as a feeder into the England Youth Squad.
The Boldon School pupil is being supported in following her sporting dream by the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust.
The charity was created by the parents of Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19, as a lasting legacy to the couple who were killed in the Manchester Arena bomb attack, last May.
Sophie’s gran Valerie Lough said; “I play myself and Sophie had asked if she could come along to the sessions.
“She came for a few weeks but decided it wasn’t for her. I knew then it was the wrong decision but you can’t force them.
“Then she asked if she could come back and that was two years ago. She has taken to the sport like a fish to water.
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“She absolutely loves it. She plays for Durham County and represents Darlington Cadet League.
“A lot of the juniors play in big clubs and we play at a church hall but being given this opportunity is amazing as it gives them a chance to see what is expected of them.
“We can’t thank the Chloe and Liam Trust enough.”
The money gifted to Sophie as a bursary from the Trust will help fund the monthly training sessions.
Valerie added: “We’re like a third world country when it comes to the money that’s put into table tennis compared to other countries.
“The training sessions will give them a chance so they can go on to compete at international levels”
Sophie trains in her chosen sport four times a week including the additional once a month session in Nottingham.
The Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust aims to support young talented sportspeople and performers to fulfil their potential in their chosen paths.
Chloe was a talented performer while Liam was a gifted cricketer.