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Yorkshire athletes and business leaders win inspiration at the Olympic Park

PUBLISHED: 16:33 16 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:58 20 February 2013

Diver Jack Laugher, high jumper Martyn Bernard and Jonathan Edwards

Diver Jack Laugher, high jumper Martyn Bernard and Jonathan Edwards

A team of Yorkshire business people and young athletes travel to the Olympic Park for inspiration Photographs by Joan Russell

A budding Olympic diver from Ripon and an aspiring high jumper from Wakefield were part of a team from Yorkshire who visited the Olympic Park as part of the celebrations marking a year to go until London 2012. They were also there to see the contribution Yorkshire companies are making to the venue for one of the worlds biggest events.


Britains World Junior Diving Champion Jack Laugher, 17, from Ripon, travelled to the Olympic Park with Britains number one high jumper Martyn Bernard, 26, from Wakefield.


Jack, who trains at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds, said: Ive found this whole experience very inspirational. Its very inspiring to
know I could be a part of it this time next year!


Im really involved with Ripon Grammar School which has also got involved through the Get Set Network. Im hoping to inspire them further when Im back at school.


Ive just been in China for the Fina World Championships. There were 11 of us there; six of whom are based at John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds. It just shows that the Olympics are not just about London.


Martyn added: Although Im currently living in London, Wakefield is still a very big part of my life. I still compete there and its where my heart is. This trip has been a fantastic motivator for me. It gives me goose bumps! I think it shows the people of Yorkshire whats going on, that its relevant to them and the rest of the country as a whole, not just Londoners.


The visit was hosted by Gary Verity, head of Welcome to Yorkshire and chair of Yorkshire Gold, and former triple jumper Jonathan Edwards CBE, now deputy chair of the Nations and Regions Group of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

Gary Verity said Yorkshire was making a major impact at the park. He added: Over 200 firms on our patch have won business contracts and theres 450million more still to bid for. So today Im encouraging people across Yorkshire to get involved because there is still plenty of opportunity to grab a slice of the action.


The heads of four local firms also joined the group to see at first-hand the contribution Yorkshire is making to the venue of one of the worlds biggest events. They included David Preston, managing director of Prestons of Potto in Northallerton; Mark Blackburn, special projects director at Pitchmastic PMB, Sheffield; Graham Holden, chief executive of Marshalls Paving, Huddersfield and Andy Fraser, managing director of County Turf based in Scunthorpe.


London 2012 is about more than the Olympic Park, added Mr Verity. He said: The Games are happening here, right on our doorstep in Yorkshire. International and British teams are already committed to training with us ahead of the Games, hundreds of our school children will qualify for free tickets through the Get Set Network and 600 people from Yorkshire and Humber will run with the Olympic Torch when it travels through Yorkshire for six days next summer. We are absolutely committed to making this a fantastic Games and ensuring that Yorkshire makes the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity.


The visit to the Olympic Park was organised by Yorkshire Gold, the Olympic arm of Welcome to Yorkshire which is dedicated to seizing the benefits of the London 2012 Games.


Go to yorkshire-gold.com to find out more.

Get Set

Get Set is the official London 2012 education programme.

More than 1,500 schools and colleges throughout Yorkshire have registered with the programme. Get Set offers opportunities for schools and colleges to get involved in the 2012 Games.

The programme provides resources to explore the history and the values of the Games. Offers opportunities to meet sporting heroes including teenage diving sensation Tom Daley and Paralympic Games double gold medallist Eleanor Simmonds.

Visit getset.london2012.com to register your school or college.

Hannah Cockroft - Yorkshire's 2012 Olympic hopeful - read her blog here

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