King James´s School PE department is extremely proud of all its students, but each year some stand out for the remarkable sporting success they achieve. In recent years, the school has been lucky enough to see current and ex-students go on to achieve international acclaim in football, hockey, cricket, athletics, karate, sailing and equestrianism.
What sometimes goes unseen is the years of hard training and parental backing (in terms of both time and money) that underlie such success. In recognition of this, King James´s has set up a Sport Legacy Fund to support our students who are selected for national and international sporting events.
The Fund was the inspiration of Jan Lake, mother of Year 11 student William, who has achieved international swimming success. Here she explains the thinking behind the Fund.
"William qualified and was selected to join the Great Britain team of DSISO (Down´s Syndrome International Swimming Organisation) at the World Championships in Loano, Italy, in November 2012. All swimmers have to qualify under the same rules as any Olympic or Paralympics event. We were incredibly proud of him. We then received details of the costs to send him as no funding or sponsorship was available. This included uniform, kit, transport, accommodation, coaches and carers, plus hire of pool to train prior to competition. Our hearts fell as this was a huge amount to find, without any family going out to support him. Each family had to fundraise for their own swimmer. We held a bring and buy sale, cake sale and raffle. Friends were very generous too. I spoke to Mr Sugden about a possible donation and the school were very generous but I didn´t want this just to be about William from the school´s perspective. King James´s has a number of very talented sportsmen and women and I thought it would be great to have a legacy of supporting these dedicated people through the funds raised at Sports Day. All sports cost parents a huge amount of time and money over the years and we don´t want to dampen their talent and enthusiasm so any help is always greatly appreciated as many don´t get any form of sponsorship.
"As a footnote, William arrived home with two gold and two bronze medals, two European records and a trophy for being the youngest athlete at the Games (192 competitors from 23 countries). We thought it would just be a good experience for the future - never underestimate your child!!"
George Davies in Year 12, currently ranked second in the country for javelin for his age group, is a great example of current King James´s sporting success. In 2014, George won a silver medal at the prestigious English Schools Track & Fileld Competition in Birmingham, which qualified him for his international debut. George went on to produce the performance of his life, throwing a personal best of 70.07m at the SIAB Under-17 international track and field competition in Cardiff to give him his first win for England.
If you would like to apply for support for your child from the KJS Sport Legacy Fund, please write to Mr Sugden at the school address.
In recent years, a remarkable number of ex-students have gone on to achieve notable sporting success. In football, centre back Tom Lees (now 23) has graduated from King James´s to play for Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and represent England at U21 level. Following in his footsteps, Joe McCann (aged 21) was selected for the England U17 team when just 15 and is currently playing in the Leeds reserve team. In golf, 19-year-old Jack Backhouse has enjoyed many junior successes around the Harrogate district and has recently turned professional. Meanwhile, Alex Foster´s rugby future looks bright after he progressed through the Leeds Rhino academy and was signed to Wetherby Bulldogs.
Lydia Clissitt is part of the England U18 hockey squad, having played hockey for North Yorkshire every year since Year 8. Cricketer Jonny Tattersall has toured South Africa with the England U19 cricket team and, as 12th man for the Headingley test match against New Zealand in May 2013, actually got the opportunity to take to the pitch with the likes of Alastair Cook, Joe Root and Graeme Swann.
Just a few names to look out for in the future include: