VYNERS GIRL FENCES FOR ENGLAND
Jasmine Porter, a pupil at Vyners School, recently represented England in the Under 15 Foil Fencing tournament, the “Marathon Fleuret”, in Paris, the largest international fencing tournament for this age group in the world. Her achievement is especially remarkable because she is only 13, making her one of the youngest members of the team of twelve.
Unlike most of her competitors, who took up foil fencing aged about 7 and now attend schools where fencing is included in the school syllabus, Jasmine only started the sport two years ago when she tried it out at a summer camp. Although Vyners School gives her whatever support it can, like most state schools, it cannot include the sport in the school curriculum.
Consequently, Jasmine attends out-of school-time, private training at Rickmansworth, Hendon and Ealing and is very fortunate to be coached by the top British fencer Dominique Szokolovics. Dominique is full of praise for her young protégée and is optimistic that she could eventually reach the top of the tree of national ladies’ fencing - provided she sticks to her present gruelling training schedule. And gruelling it is! Jasmine, usually accompanied by her father, trains four evenings a week, and then gets up at 5.30am the following morning to do her homework!
So far her dedication has been worth it and Jasmine’s exceptional achievements continue to build. Last year she won three tournaments, four medals and was the youngest fencer to reach the last sixteen of the British under-14 championships – all at just 12 years old! This year Jasmine aims to win more medals, finish in the last four of the British championships and then do the same in the England contest.
Surprisingly, Jasmine finds time to support Brentford FC as well as being a successful street dancer. So how does she do it? “Well”, she says, “I am competitive and enjoy training. And my parents and friends give me lots of support and encouragement. I like to think I’m improving at what I love doing. It’s also nice to be involved in a sport that most people have never attempted! However, I know there’s still a long, long way to go!”
COMING TOGETHER TO WORSHIP, EAT – AND WASH UP!
With both Ickenham churches currently searching for new clergy, working together is even more important than usual. Fortunately, it’s something we do well! On 19th January a joint service at the URC heralded the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The visiting preacher, Revd Dr Mary Cotes led an Anglican style service and Holy Communion was taken in the URC manner. The URC’s Peter Williams conducted a combined choir, and St Giles’ Anne Whitlam, Brian Reid and David Thould gave Bible readings and led prayers. The blending of styles produced a warm, moving service, much appreciated by the congregation filling the church.
As the day of the service coincided with the URC’s New Year Lunch, three generations of the URC’s regular catering team, the Murray family, were hard at work together in the kitchen; Nathalie and David, daughter Sophie and son James being helped by Nathalie’s mum Marcelle.
Even so, the Murrays had their work cut out with the highest ever attendance at a joint lunch - almost 70 participants, including 25 from St Giles’! The delicious three course meal, served in the hall, was enjoyed by all. Giving a vote of thanks after the meal, Brian Reid had just one complaint: the range of desserts made choosing far too difficult!
The spirit of working together continued afterwards too as there were plenty of willing hands for the washing up!
DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. - St Giles’ Church Back Hall, 2pm to 3.30pm.
Join us for a friendly and informal chat over a cup of tea with other bereaved people and bereavement visitors. No need to book. Next meeting: Monday 17th March (then Monday 28th April - one week later than usual because of Easter Monday).