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Sporting dreams coming true!

PUBLISHED: 12:32 20 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:11 02 July 2010

LIVING THE Dream is about to come true for a number of athletes in the borough, as the first round of Olympic charity funding was awarded this week. Aimed at helping and supporting a number of young 2012 Games hopefuls from Barking and Dagenham, the char

LIVING THE Dream is about to come true for a number of athletes in the borough, as the first round of Olympic charity funding was awarded this week.

Aimed at helping and supporting a number of young 2012 Games hopefuls from Barking and Dagenham, the charity set up by local businessmen and the Council, gave away more than £4,000 to applicants.

Chairman, Jeremy West, of West and Coe Funeral Directors, said: "The borough is rich in athletic talent, and it would be a crying shame if one missed out on Olympic glory because of a few pounds."

The charity's committee met on Monday and made 17 awards to cover travelling expenses to events, warm weather training, and upgrading sports equipment.

"It was quite revealing when we read the applications. It is amazing just how much these young people have to rely on the goodwill of family and friends just to get the basics needed to compete.

"Though we will not be able to provide total funding, it will go a long way to supporting individual athletes in their goals, and imagine how proud everyone in the borough will be if we get one our young citizens on the winning podium."

There are more than 30 young potential winners in the borough, with a number already well on the way with official grading in their individual sports.

They include Reece Taylor in karate, Frankie Goulding in Judo, Vincent Lazaro in long jump, Joseph Kwame in javelin, Ben Bradshaw in canoeing, Daniel Stepton in swimming, and Kelly Staddon in athletics.

The scheme was suggested by Barking and Dagenham Council's Olympic supremo, Theresa Parish, with businesses and youth groups flocking to be involved.

With so much money needed, it would be impossible for individuals to raise the amounts required, so an appeal is being made to every citizen in the borough to get involved.

"All we need is for everyone to sign up for just two or three pounds a month so we can give our young people a start to realise their potential" said Mr West.

The athletes will receiving their funding at a ceremony at Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club, in Victoria Road, on Tuesday, March 18. For information on how to help, contact Steve Thompson at Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club on 020 8592 1549.

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