With just a couple of months to go, fundraising efforts have been ramped up for the cheerleaders from Okehampton who have been selected for the All Star World Championship in the US this April, writes Sarah Martin.

A trio of cheerleaders, Brooke Hallett, Immy Spooncer and Poppy Scullion qualified in September for the competition in Orlando, Florida.

They are now joined by a second team from Okehampton. The ‘South West Cheer’ team has been entered for the competition with five further cheerleaders from the local area including Annaliece Kiely, Alexandra Roby, Allyssia Colenutt and Evie Jones with Mimi Kiely travelling as reserve. The team is coached by Immy Spooncer and Poppy and Brooke will be competing in both teams.

They have all been busy raising funds needed for the open cheerleading champion series in the US, the world’s largest cheerleading event.

Sarah Hallett, mum to Brooke, said: “The competition doesn’t attract any funding from the national governing body so we are trying hard to secure funding from the local community.

“We have been very lucky indeed to be receive £150 from the Freemasons, the Lions Club also gave us £150 and Okehampton Rotary donated an amazing £600.

“We are also extremely grateful and fortunate to have been awarded £750 from The Balsdon Trust as Brooke goes to school in Holsworthy which is within their catchment area. The Okehampton United Charities have also awarded the girls money to help with the costs.”

The cheerleaders bound for the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando have been busy winning this side of the Atlantic with their first trophy of year at the ICE Spring Thaw Out championship in Swansea.

The competition, at the beginning of February, was the opener of the season and they achieved three first places and two thirds competing at both junior and senior levels.

They now have two further competitions at home, including one in Newport on Mother’s Day before they fly out with the World Team ready to prepare for the competition which runs from 18-21 April.

“The girls are training so hard, 3-4 times a week – Thursday and Friday after school and all day most Saturday and Sundays, travelling from Cullompton to Bristol.

It is full on and they are giving it their all. Ultimately the teams want to bring medals and cheerleading glory back to Okehampton. We are incredibly proud of them”, adds Sarah.

The All Star cheerleading world championships will see 517 teams from 21 different countries come together to compete for glory across a variety of acrobatic cheerleading disciplines.

The Go Fund Me page can be found at https://gofund.me/e55c8520 and all donations will be to fund flights, accommodation, transport, kit and the competition entry fee as well as training in the US.