Newham trio cycle mountains with professionals in Wales

Three Newham secondary school pupils were chosen to learn mountain bike cycling with professionals in North Wales.

Charlotte Worrell, 14, and Aaron Sims, 14, from Cumberland School in Plaistow joined Kenny Martins, 14, from Langdon School in East Ham for an all expenses paid trip to the Calypso Mountain Bike (MTB) Academy in Llandegla Forest.

Selected from over 6,000 secondary school pupils in the UK, the trio were part of an exclusive group of eight young people chosen for their biking potential.

The Calypso coaching team from Llandegla’s OnePlanet Adventure spent a year visiting inner city schools across the country, bringin with them a specially constructed MTB track to offer mountain bike lessons without the need for mountains or mud.

Charlotte, Aaron, and Kenny were invited to experience the real thing with tuition from former British Downhill champion Neil Donoghue.

Charlotte said: “Taking part in this Academy was just brilliant.

“I’ve made loads of new friends and it was tough riding up the steep hills of Wales.

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“Putting in the effort makes everything worthwhile, especially when you get to go flying downhill. It was so exciting.”

Neil ‘the Don’ Donoghue said: “It’s amazing to be involved in this campaign. We’ve seen how much kids can learn and progress - on a personal level as well as a mountain bike skills basis.

“Even in the space of a few days, they’ve managed to go from simply sitting on a bike to taking jumps, handling steep drops and tackling some very difficult and technical terrain.

“They’ve learned new skills needed to tackle not just mountains and they’ve also helped each other and have discovered new levels of confidence in themselves.

“Hopefully they will all return home believing in themselves, feeling they can take on any mountain, in life and on bikes.”

Calypso director Richard Cooke said: “We know that alternative sports grab kids’ imagination and encourages participation - it builds confidence, teaches new skills, gets you gpeople active and promotes strong health messages.”