FitBeat in Emsworth

George Turner, mayor and mayoress elect Paul Buckley and Jackie Buckley, Harry Owen and Ruth Dancer
George Turner, mayor and mayoress elect Paul Buckley and Jackie Buckley, Harry Owen and Ruth Dancer

A ‘SUPERB display of skill and nerve’ was put on by a Team GB athlete at Emsworth’s celebration of sport.

Commonwealth Games medal-hopeful Harry Owen was one of the guests of honour at this year’s FitBeat event in Emsworth.

The event was opened by the mayor and mayoress elect, Paul and Jackie Buckley, and a performance from Gem’s Dance School before Harry showed his world-class gymnastic finesse by back flipping over a line of, somewhat nervous, volunteers from the crowd.

FitBeat was set up by Ruth Dancer and George ‘Topsy’ Turner in 2011 as way of encouraging the community to come together for a day of fun and sport.

“This is such a fantastic event and I am so delighted to be here to support the FitBeat team today in such a great cause,” said Harry.

“All being well, I will be competing next year in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games and I would be delighted to come back to FitBeat in 2014 as an ambassador for the event – hopefully with a medal.”

The event was title-sponsored by Alexandra Sports, with additional sponsors including Southern Tyres, West Leigh Motor Factors, Southern Coop, Havant Borough Council, Fasset, The Bluebell Pub, Havant Leisure Centre and J Edwards Funeral Directors. Sporting clubs also set up free taster sessions throughout the day.

“I couldn’t be more delighted how today’s event has gone,” said Ruth. “I have been thrilled and touched to see children of all ages and abilities beaming with smiles, giving everything a go.

“I strongly believe that we have to take personal responsibility for ensuring that our community has a chance to try and enjoy sport.”

This year, for the first time, FitBeat gave awards for Sporting Leader of the Year and Child Who Has Achieved the Most Through Sport.

This year’s winners were Andy Cooper, of Havant and Waterlooville Youth FC, and Andy Cooper, no relation, for his achievements with Winstone’s gym.

“Andy and Luke epitomise what FitBeat is all about, recognising people who have passion for sport, love what they do and put themselves out there as role models to all of us,” said George.

Next year, FitBeat will be the official recipients of the Southern Co-Op card share scheme.

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