Golf fanatic Joseph Newby, 8, from Boldon, fell in love with golf a year and a half ago, quickly finding out he had a talent for the sport and going on to compete in and win a number of local and national competitions.
Now, Joseph is set to compete against some of the best young golfers in the world, in the US kids European Championships, taking place in Longniddry, Scotland, and is being supported by former Sunderland boxer Paul Holborn, who now lives and works in Texas.
Sunderland store robbers who threatend staff with screwdrivers and terrified customers with children are caged
13 of your fan pictures ahead of Sunderland's League One play-off final at Wembley
Woman caught smuggling drugs into prison on Christmas visit
Sunderland man loses tenancy after neighbours complain of excessive noise, fighting and drunken behaviour
Plans in for 103 new affordable homes for Sunderland on land in Hendon left empty since 1990s
However, competing in the competition comes at a cost, leaving Joseph’s family thinking he may not be able to compete, until Paul and some local businesses stepped in to help with financing.
Joseph’s Dad, Craig Newby, 36, said: “Joseph wanted to get involved with golf and I’ve never seen a child swing a club the way he does. He just seems to have a natural talent for it. He’s got better and better and really grown into it. He absolutely loves it and is constantly wanting to play.
“Everyone is rooting for Joseph. He doesn’t come from the best background and it just makes me so, so proud watching him do this. I just want him to achieve something in life and to see him doing so well against some of the best kids out there is just mind blowing”
After hearing about Joseph’s story, Paul Holborn, who grew up in the same estate as Craig, was keen to do something to help.
He said: “I know first hand what it’s like having talent but not coming from the best background to be able to pursue that talent. It’s so important to encourage young people in sport and I’m so happy and fortunate to be able to give back to the community I was brought up in.”
As well as being supported by Paul, local businesses Washington Virtual Golf Centre, KT Car Sales and North East Auto Body and Paint also chipped in to support Joseph.
Joseph will compete in the US kids European Championships from May 31 - June 2.