Weights and Cakes: Young Sunderland weightlifters collect haul of medals at British championships

A Sunderland weight lifting club has again seen its younger members collect another haul of medals in a major competition.

Six young lifters aged eight to 11 from the Weights and Cakes club in Southwick each took a medal at the British Age Group Championships in Leeds.

The club only formed in April 2021, but has already been successful in a string of national competitions. It has around 50 members, half of whom are under 16.

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The club has been helped with £200 given to two children for six months of training. In total £1,000 Community Chest grant has been awarded by Sunderland City Council. The successful lifters in Leeds all attend Sunderland schools and were:

Jacob McDonald rakes the strain in Leeds.

St Paul’s Ryhope pupil Matthew Lawrance, eight, who took gold; Carter Mason and Archie Fowler, both nine and pupils at Grange Park in Monkwearmouth claimed a bronze medal each; Jacob McDonald, 10, New Silksworth School took gold, James Newton, 10, of Hill View Academy took gold; Blake Forbister, 11, of Sandhill View won silver.

Matthew, Jacob and James can now call themselves British champions. Archie and Carter only took up the sport in September.

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Weights and Cakes founder and head coach Zoe Chandler took the team to the event after a 6am start to the day.

She said: “It was fantastic day. Two of the children were really nervous as it was their first competition. They’d never stepped on a platform before.

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Matthew Lawrance, eight, took a gold.

“All the children had quite high anxiety levels. But they were really, really well behaved and performed really well. They were very confident.

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"In children’s weight lifting they are marked on technique and they all received good technique scores. It was a wonderful day.

“We’d like to thank Cllr Michael Butler, Southwick councillor, who supported us with the Community Chest funding which helped sponsor some of the kids. It also enabled us to go round schools delivering sessions.”

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Doing Sunderland proud, from left, weight lifters Matthew Lawrance, Jacob McDonald, James Newton, Carter Mason (and friend) and Archie Fowler.
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Weights & Cakes was set up by Zoe as a Community Interest Company to encourage those who might not otherwise become involved in sport to strengthen their bodies and improve mental health.

It offers a different way of training to people who may not feel comfortable training in a mainstream gym environment. The aim is to increase social inclusion, improve fitness, general well-being and self-confidence. Visit www.weightsandcakes.com.

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Blake Forbister shows off his silver medal in Leeds.
Archie Carter, nine, showing his strength in competition in Leeds.
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Carter Mason in action.