Sport Scholarship Programme
Our Sport Scholars are usually chosen from our Rising Star awards which identifies about 12 young people each year who are already making a name for themselves in their chosen sport. Only the very best of these are selected as Sport Scholars, who each receive a scholarship grant of £1,500 per year for a maximum of 3 years.
We would like to be able to award more sports scholarships so if you feel your organisation would like to support a young person as a Sport Scholar we would like to hear from you !
Current Sports Scholars
Scholar: Nick Pyle (swimmer)
January 2021 update: Like most athletes Nick has had no competition this year due to Covid-19. He's maintained his fitness through power walking and general strength and conditioning. In Stirling Nick was able to get some pool time during the summer, but no major competitions took place. Nick met up again with his long term coach, Ryan Livingstone, from Newcastle Swim Team, when he returned home for Christmas and was able to train with him before the latest lockdown. Nick was scheduled to go to Arizona with British Swimming this month, but unfortunately that won't be happening now. Recently, Nick received some excellent news, finding out that he'd been selected for the England Commonwealth training team for 2022. This is a huge honour and provides a great goal for Nick to work towards this year.
January 2020 update: Nick is now settled in Stirling and training with world class swimmers like Duncan Scott and Ross Murdoch. Swimming in a 50m pool every day is a great asset and as Nick says, "It's just a shame Newcastle don't have one!" Nick found the high altitude training camp in Arizona interesting and is looking forward to returning there this month. The only two competitions that Nick has competed in recently were the European short course championships and the Scottish short course nationals, where he came 3rd in the 50m backstroke with a new p.b., despite still suffering from a long term shoulder injury.
September 2019 update: No summer holidays for Nick. After finishing his A-levels it was straight in to preparations for the World Championships in South Korea. Two warm up competitions preceded the 'Worlds' where Nick competed in the 50m backstroke. A top 30 finish and a season's best time was a very encouraging result bearing in mind Nick's recent shoulder injury. Nick's next trip, in October, is to a 4 week high altitude training camp in Arizona with British Swimming, before returning to work with a national coach based in Stirling. Nick intends to use this term's scholar's funding to help pay for his trip to Arizona.
About Nick: Nick is a member of Newcastle Swim Team that train at West Denton Pool. He attends St. Cuthbert's High School and is currently studying for his A-levels. As a junior Nick won 2 European medals in 2018 and set British age group records at 50m and 100m backstroke. In February 2018 he emerged on to the senior scene in style winning the British 50m backstroke championship. His selection for the Great Britain squad to compete in the European Championships in Glasgow in August soon followed. He took part in both the mixed and mens 4x100m relays and came away with 2 gold medals! Quite an achievement for someone who was almost unheard of on the national scene 12 months earlier. His success since being awarded a Rising Star award in 2018 resulted in Nick being awarded the Young Sporting Success of the Year award at the annual Sport Newcastle dinner in March 2019 (he is pictured holding the trophy). In April 2019 Nick came 2nd in the 50m and 3rd in the 100m backstroke at the senior national championships in Glasgow. These performances secured his selection for Great Britain at the World Swimming Championships to be held in South Korea in July.
Scholar: Emily Large (Swimmer)
January 2021 update: Despite her best efforts, Emily could not find anywhere to swim during the first lockdown. She resorted to cycling and running to maintain her fitness. In the summer Emily was invited to move to Bath to train with British Swimming. This allowed her to get more pool time, to train with other elite swimmers and to be around a wide range of top class professional staff. Emily was selected for the London Roar Team that competed in the International Swimming League in October and November. This was a great experience and Emily acquitted herself well swimming against some of the best butterfly swimmers in the world. She has since returned to Bath and is working hard to achieve selection for the postponed Tokyo Olympics. In the meantime it was good to hear that she has been selected for the England training team for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
After 4 years Emily has come to the end of her scholarship with Sport Newcastle. In that time she has been a brilliant ambassador for her club, her school, her family and Sport Newcastle. She has won National, European and World championships and has continually improved her performances. She is a dedicated athlete who works hard and always gives of her best. Emily was a worthy winner of the first Sport Newcastle Young Sporting Achievement of the Year Award in 2018 and will always be an athlete that we are proud to have been associated with. We wish her well for the future.
January 2020 update: Since September Emily has been a full time athlete. It seems to be suiting her well. In October at the Manchester international meeting she set p.b.'s in her main event, the 200m butterfly and in the 200m freestyle. Success continued at the Scottish short course nationals in Edinburgh, reaching 3 finals and setting p.b.'s in each. In the 100m butterfly Emily was pipped for gold by 0.01s, but won the 200m butterfly convincingly by 2.5s to record the 4th fastest time ever by a British swimmer. Emily's focus for the early part of 2020 is to get ready for the Olympic trials in April.
September 2029 update: Emily has been balancing training with A-level revision this year but still managed to compete successfully at the Glasgow International event in May, even earning some prize money. In June Emily was selected to represent British Swimming at the US Nationals in California. Despite having little time to overcome jet lag she recorded a season's best time for the 100m butterfly and qualified for the 200m butterfly A final. She recorded her second fastest time ever and came 6th in a blanket finish against some of the best swimmers in the world. Emily is looking forward to being a full time athlete this year and will be aiming to peak for the Winter Nationals.
May 2019 update: In January Emily competed in Sheffield and won 4 races to become County Champion in 100m and 200m butterfly and 100m and 400m freestyle - the freestyle being an event Emily rarely competes in! At the beginning of March Emily was competing at Des Moines, Iowa in temperatures as low as -17C! Despite this she qualified for the 100m and 200m butterfly finals, just missing out on a medal in the 200m race.
Emily's most recent successes were at the British Championships in Glasgow over the Easter weekend. She qualified for the finals in the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly, producing season best times in all 3 races. A bronze medal in Emily's specialist distance, the 200m, was a fantastic result in the national open age championships.
January 2019 update: Emily's training schedule since the summer included a 'warm' weather camp in Majorca in October (although the temperature rarely exceeded 8 degrees). Early in December Emily was honoured to be presented with the 2017 Northumberland and Durham athlete of the year award. At the winter national short course championships in Sheffield Emily came 2nd in the 200m butterfly and set a lifetime best time in the 100m butterfly to take the bronze medal. The New Year will see Emily preparing for the British long course championships in Glasgow in April.
September 2018 update: At the European Junior Championships in Helsinki in July, Emily reinforced her reputation as one of the best butterfly swimmers in the world in her age group by winning two gold medals in the 100m butterfly and as part of the women's medley relay team. She also won a silver in the mixed medley relay. In August Emily 'stepped up' as part of the senior Great Britain team at the European Championships in Glasgow. Swimming against some of the best swimmers in the world Emily made the semi-final of the 200m butterfly, only just missing out on qualifying for the final. Emily has the national Winter Championships in December and warm weather training in Majorca to look forward to before her next update.
May 2018 update: Jet-setting Emily started the year at a high altitude training camp in Colorado. Next stop was Edinburgh for the British Championships. 3rd in the Open final of the 200m butterfly and fastest times for a junior in the 100m and 200m fly were just reward for battling the 'Beast from the East' to get there. Then it was off to the Gold Coast in Australia for the Commonwealth Games. To represent Team England at the age of 17 in a multi-sport event was an amazing experience. Emily reached the semi-final of the 100m fly and in her main event, the 200m fly, she came 7th in the final - a brilliant result for someone so young. To swim against some of the best swimmers in the world in front of 10,000 spectators was an experience Emily will never forget. Following the Games Emily was selected to compete in the European Junior championships in Helsinki in July and the European championships in Glasgow in August. A busy, but exciting schedule!
About Emily: Emily attends Kings Priory School, Tynemouth and is a member of Newcastle Swim Team. She was selected as a Rising Star in 2016 due to brilliant results in 2015. At the British Championships, Emily won the 200m butterfly gold medal and also qualified for the finals in 8 other events. 2016 got even better for Emily. She won bronze in the Olympic Trials at 200m butterfly, just missing out on a trip to Rio, qualified for the 100m butterfly final and won the junior 400m individual medley. Emily ended the year as the fastest 15 year old in the World at 200m butterfly and has been selected for the British Swimming World Class podium potential squad. Emily recently competed at the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships qualifying for finals in the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly. An outstanding performance in the 200m final saw Emily break the 9 year championship record to become the Junior World 200m butterfly Champion.
Scholar: Ellen Stephenson (Swimmer)
January 2021 update: Along with our other 2 swimming 'scholars' Ellen had to resort to land based techniques for keeping fit during the first lockdown. She did however, take to the chilly waters of the North Sea to get in some swimming. During the summer Ellen was able to get back in the pool and train with Newcastle Swim Team. However, all her planned competitions have been cancelled since March, though she is hoping that the British Para-Swimming Championships will take place in April. Ellen has been studying at TyneMet College since September and has benefitted from having a personal strength and conditioning coach to work with.
Ellen will end her 3 years as a Sport Newcastle scholar this April. In terms of records set and medals won, she must be one of the most successful scholars we have ever had. National, European and World records have been smashed on a regular basis and she has justifiably been recognised by her sport as a very special talent. She has been a magnificent ambassador for Down Syndrome swimming and has represented her club and country with great humility and style. All of us at Sport Newcastle are proud to have been associated with a young athlete who we have seen blossom as a person as well as a performer.
Ellen will continue to keep us informed of her progress as she continues to leave her mark on Para-Swimming.
January 2020 update: Yet another hugely successful 4 months for Ellen to report. At the European Down Syndrome championships in September, Ellen won golds in all of her 8 races, setting 4 Open and 1 junior Mosaic Down Syndrome World records. Hardly surprising then that she was awarded 'Individual Best Performance Female Mosaic'.
Shortly after competing in Sardinia Ellen returned to competition at the North East regional Para-swimming championships in Harrogate, winning a silver and 2 golds and in the process setting 3 more Open Mosaic World records. In December Ellen took part in the National Para-swimming championships where there was stiff competition in her S14 age 14-17 category. Despite that Ellen came away with another 3 p.b.'s and a 4th place in the 100m breaststroke and qualification for 3 other finals.
Ellen will be competing at the Down Syndrome World championships in Turkey in March and the Para-swimming Tokyo Olympic trials in April. She's also aiming to win a medal at the National Championships later in the year.
September 2019 update: Ellen has been training hard these last few months in preparation for the European Down Syndrome Championships in Sardinia in mid-September. Ellen and her mum helped host the GB Down Syndrome Swimming Team for a week's training at the Royal Grammar School, Jesmond. Sport Newcastle Rising Star, Lola Davison came along to give a freestyle demonstration, which was much appreciated.
Ellen recently took part in the S14 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke events at the national summer meet and was pleased to achieve the qualifying times for the regional para-championships in November and nationals in December. These events will be Ellen's main priority over the coming months.
May 2019 update: A winter of hard training is paying off for Ellen. In March at the National Junior Para-swimming championships she achieved 4th, 5th and 6th places in the S14 14-17 age group and broke 3 Mosaic Down Syndrome World records and 1 junior World record. At the start of April Ellen competed in the Down Syndrome Open European Championships winning 5 gold medals and 1 silver, setting another World record in the 200m backstroke.
Ellen continues to win accolades out of the pool as well as in it. Tyne and Wear Sport awarded her the Young Female Achiever of the Year award at their presentation evening in March. Not satisfied with swimming Ellen is also taking up running! She aims to raise money for the Down Syndrome Swimming GB team by running a 10k race in London in June. This will help to fund the team's trip to Sardinia in September for the Down Syndrome European Championships.
January 2019 update: Ellen has had a busy time since her last update. In September she competed in the North East Regional Para-swimming Championships, winning a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke. Just before Christmas Ellen competed in 4 events in the National Para-swimming Championships in Manchester. Although Ellen did not win any medals she set 3 personal best times and 3 Mosaic Down Syndrome world records. Ellen's fantastic achievements were recognised by being awarded the Young Performance of the Year 2018 from Active Durham and a Northern Echo Local Hero award for Remarkable Achievement (Junior). Ellen is now setting her sights on the National Junior Para-swimming Championships in March and the British International Para-swimming meeting in April. Despite all her training and competition commitments Ellen has also found time to give talks in local primary schools about her successes and disability swimming.
September 2018 update: What a fantastic summer it's been for Ellen. She took part in 8 events at the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships in Canada, winning 7 of them. Her gold medals came in the 100m and 200m freestyle, 100m and 200m individual medley and 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke whilst in the 100m breaststroke Ellen won a silver medal. Consequently Ellen was 'crowned' the Mosaic Down Syndrome World Champion. Not one to rest on her laurels, Ellen has already started training for her next major competition, the N.E. Regional Para-swimming Championships to be held in Harrogate in September.
May 2018 update: Ellen has moved up to the NST Youth development squad and has got a new coach, Martin Hall. She's recently competed in 3 competitions.
At the North West regional para-swimming championships in Darwen Ellen gained 3 fourth places and a bronze medal in the 200m freestyle. At the national junior para-swimming championships in Southampton she won 6 bronze medals. At the same venue for the European Open Down Syndrome championships Ellen won 8 gold medals and set 8 personal best times. She now has 23 Mosaic Down Syndrome world records to her name.
Next up for Ellen are the World Championships in Canada in July.
About Ellen: Ellen swims for Newcastle Swim Team and the Great Britain Down Syndrome squad. 2017 was a very successful for Ellen. She became a Sport Newcastle Rising Star and was presented with her award by the Lord Mayor at the annual awards dinner at Newcastle Civic Centre. In the pool Ellen became European Open Down Syndrome champion in 6 events: 50m & 100m backstroke, 50m, 100m & 200m freestyle and 100m individual medley, setting personal best times in every event. No wonder Ellen was crowned the championship's best female swimmer (mosaic) at the end of the meet. Ellen's next big challenge will be competing for Great Britain at the 9th World Paralympic Swimming Championships in Canada in July 2018. Before then she'll be completing her Key stage 3 SATs exams at Gosforth Middle School, before she moves up to the High School after the summer holidays. By then she may be a world champion!
Scholar: Alex Wise (Archer)
January 2021 update: Alex must have found the last year very frustrating. In March he was on the verge of having his selection for the Tokyo Olympics confirmed, only for Covid-19 to dash his hopes for at least 12 months. A lack of competition thereafter meant Alex had to practice and train at home like many other athletes. For someone who had been used to travelling the world to compete at the highest level, it must have been quite a change to be shooting arrows in his back garden, as opposed to on the competition fields of Shanghai, Antalya or Minsk.
More recently, due to Alex's elite sport exemption, he has been been able to train with the national squad in the U.K. and abroad. Selection trials for the Olympics take place this coming March and Alex is hoping that he can regain his form from last year and secure his place in the G.B. team for Tokyo 2021.
Alex will end his 3 year Sport Newcastle scholarship at the end of April. His rise from Rising Star to one of the top 3 senior Great Britain archers has been nothing short of unbelievable for someone so young. His rapid progress resulted in him being awarded the Young Sporting Achievement Award at our Annual Dinner in 2020. He is a rare talent who works extremely hard at his sport. In what is a high pressure event, Alex stands out due to his cool, calm demeanor. Yet, he is a tough competitor and doesn't know when he is beaten. These fine qualities will undoubtedly stand him in good stead as he goes on to represent his country, his club and (not forgetting) Sport Newcastle for many years to come.
January 2020 update: It's been an intensive period of training for Alex in his quest to secure his place on the G.B. Olympic team to Tokyo. One competition he did compete in was the National finals at the end of September when he came 2nd. Since then he has been to training camps in Cyprus, Turkey and France and hopes that these will stand him in good stead to be selected for the 3 man team to represent Great Britain at Tokyo 2020.
September 2019 update: Alex has had a fantastic few months of competition. At the Senior World Championships he shot an international best to help the GB team secure an Olympic quota place for Tokyo. Very soon afterwards Alex got a feel for what it will be like in a year's time by competing at the Olympic test event in Tokyo. He came up against a member of the Korean team that won gold in Rio 2016. Despite losing this match, the experience was invaluable and proved to Alex that he is capable of holding his own against the very best in the world.
In August, Alex became senior British champion, scoring a clean sweep of 1st places throughout the course of the weekend competition. An amazing achievement for someone who in archery terms is still quite 'new' to the sport.
Madrid to compete in the World Youth Championships was Alex's next stop. Despite Alex shooting his best ever ranking round and being ranked 3rd individually, the GB team finished 4th overall, just missing out on the bronze medal. However, this completed a very productive and successful summer's competition. It's now down to some intensive indoor training this winter in preparation for the Olympics next year.
May 2019 update: At the end of March Alex competed in the Great Britain trials in Turkey. After an intensive week of competition, in which Alex improved his personal best by 20 points, he ended up 2nd overall. As a result Alex was chosen for the 4 man team to compete in 2 world Cup stages in Shanghai and Antalya. Alex will then be competing to become one of the 3 team members to represent Great Britain at the World Championship and European Games. At these events Olympic quota places can be secured, which is the ultimate goal for the G.B. team this year.
January 2019 update: Alex and his two team mates just missed out on a medal by 1 point in the European Championships in Poland. However, their performance qualified them to compete at the European Games in Minsk later this year. The highlight of Alex's season followed soon after in the National Finals, which is contested by the top 8 archers of the year, and Alex won. This is a fantastic achievement, especially considering, Alex's age and the level of the competition he faced. Just before Christmas Alex competed in the national indoor championships and came away with a bronze medal. Next up for Alex is a trip to Nimes for a World Cup event where he will be defending the title he won last year.
September 2018 update: Alex's 'globe-trotting' to compete internationally has continued. In June he competed at the junior European Championships in Greece and then moved on to Berlin to represent Great Britain in a senior World Cup event. In August Alex was back on home soil competing at the national championships as a senior achieving a very creditable 3rd place overall (his last competition before he turned 18). Alex's next challenge comes at the European Team Championships in Poland, where he is hopeful of further success.
About Alex: Alex's first experience of archery was on a family holiday in Turkey. When he
returned home he enrolled on a course at the 'Bowmen of Walker' club at the start of 2015. Since then his progress has been amazing. Within a year he was breaking club, regional and national records, including smashing a 25 year old junior national record by scoring an almost perfect 595 out of 600.
In just over 2 years Alex achieved selection to compete for Great Britain and won individual and team gold medals in the European Youth Championships in Croatia in July 2017. Selection to the G.B. senior team soon followed. At the start of 2018 Alex won the prestigious indoor World Cup event in Nimes, beating a Frenchman in the final! In May this year Alex won his first senior medal with a 3rd place in a team event at the World Cup in Turkey in May.
Alex's interest in sport extends to his studies. He is currently studying Sport and Exercise Science at Tyne Metropolitan College and will be continuing his studies next year at Sunderland University.
Scholar: Emma Peters (skier)
January 2021 update: In addition to lockdown and lost competition opportunities Emma has had to contend with injury and rehab over the last few months. A hand injury has required two operations and four months physio to recover full fitness. Fortunately Emma was able to re-locate to Morzine just after Christmas to enable her to travel and compete in any World Cup events that would be taking place in Europe this season. It is unclear at the moment how many of these pre-Olympic qualifying events will take place due to Covid-19 issues. Emma is hoping that she can build on her successes from last year to perform well in any of the forthcoming Ski Cross events.
January 2020 update: Emma's pre-season training camps finished at the end of November and racing started in December with the first Ski Cross World Cup of the season in Val Thorens, France. Emma produced a p.b. performance coming 23rd and just missing out on qualification for the head to head racing.
In the New Year Emma will be heading off to the Alps to compete in World Cup and European Cup races. If you want to see how she gets on tune in to Ski Cross on Eurosport.
About Emma: Emma first skied on a family holiday in France at the age of 4. When she was 8 she joined the local ski club at Sunderland dry ski slope where her dad took her on a weekly basis. She progressed through all of the groups in the club and ultimately began racing on the U.K. ski circuit winning many national age group titles.
For a few years Emma raced alpine and progressed from the dry slope to the snow dome to the snowy mountains, finally at 16 discovered the ultimate ski discipline of ski cross. On completing her GCSEs Emma was offered a full skiing scholarship at an international boarding school in Switzerland. This allowed her to compete internationally in ski cross whilst studying for her International Baccalaureate.
Upon graduating from school Emma soon qualified for World Cup competitions in her first full time European season. In 2018 (aged 20) Emma was longlisted for the Winter Olympics and finished 4th at the World Junior Championships in New Zealand. Emma's aim is to continue to lower her world ranking as she aims to gain selection for Great Britain at the Beijing winter Olympics in 2022.
Emma is currently in her 2nd year studying International Business Management at Northumbria University. Her success in becoming a Sport Newcastle scholar, sponsored by the university, is testament to both her sporting ability and her academic commitment.
Scholar: Joy Eze (sprinter)
January 2021 update: Joy became our latest Sport Scholar when presented with the honour at the 2020 Annual Awards Dinner in March (just before lockdown).
Joy was a Sport Newcastle Rising Star in 2017 and has produced some outstanding results as a 60m, 100m and 200m sprinter ever since. She trains at Gateshead Harriers under the watchful eyes of coach, Mike Donnelly. Joy is in Y.12 at St. Mary's School, Newcastle and despite all the time she commits to her athletics she achieved brilliant GCSE results last summer.
In 2017 Joy was the fastest u13 female runner at 60m indoors in the country. She continued to perform well indoors and outdoors throughout the following season whilst competing against girls a year older. In 2019 Joy became the u17 English Schools champion, despite being 15 at the time. Her first England 'vest' soon followed as she represented her country in the home nations championship, winning both her individual event and anchoring the relay team to victory. At the start of 2020 Joy achieved the double of Scottish and English national u17 indoors 60m champion, setting a personal best of 7.51s at the English Championships. Joy's times as a junior are comparable to those of world champion, Dina Asher-Smith at the same stage of her career.
During the first lockdown Joy continued training 'at home' on her own, going for runs in the local parks and strength training outdoors. Relaxation of restrictions during the summer allowed Joy to compete in some local and regional events. These were quite different from normal, leaving alternate lanes empty and running in mixed gender races. However, it did provide competition and when Gateshead Harriers decided to enter a team for the u17 ladies London Connect Relays Championships, Joy was selected along with 3 team mates. Not only did they win they became the fastest women's team in the country that year. The team also broke the all time Gateshead Harriers record for any women's team.
Since the latest lockdown Joy has had to revert to training in the streets and parks around where she lives. She is very diligent in maintaining her fitness and she is looking forward to being able to start racing again as soon as possible.