What a journey the Lionesses had this summer! Although it wasn't the result we wanted, our fantastic team can hold their heads high in pride for their performances and spirit. A World Cup final following on from a European championship win last year is an incredible record and I am sure we will be right up there again in four years.
My family were firmly glued to the sofa all tournament and many spirited debates were had about England's best player. My eldest and I were firmly Team Lauren James, while my youngest maintained throughout thaT Russo is our star. Either way, very well done once again to the Lionesses and congratulations must go to Spain too for a well-played final.
Recently I visited the fantastic Balham Ballers holiday club, based at Ravensbourne Primary school.
Balham Ballers provide a sports programme for young people aged five to twelve over the school holidays, focusing mainly on football but also giving young people a chance to enjoy a wide range of other sporting activities. I have loved working with the Balham Ballers team over the last few years and it has been fantastic to see them go from strength to strength.
Balham Ballers are passionate about promoting a love of sports amongst both boys and girls. This is something that I am particularly supportive of. Following the Lionesses' fantastic win at the Euros earlier this month, the England football team have said "every girl should be given the chance to play football at school." However, currently only 63% of schools offer equal access to football, a number that falls to just 44% at secondary schools.
It was great to see so many young people in our community enjoying football, and I even took a penalty myself!
To find out more about the Balham Ballers, click here.
What a fantastic summer of sport we’ve been treated to! I was lucky to be able to experience the absolutely electric atmosphere at Wembley as the Lionesses roared to an inspirational victory which was one of many sensational memories from the tournament, from Russo’s backheel to Toone’s winner, I know so many young girls will be inspired to continue the wonderful legacy left by this team.
The Commonwealth Games have also had a more local hero. Eden Cheng won a silver medal in the 10m synchro platform competition along with Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix. Eden is a brilliant example of our community producing talented athletes, and I am sure many will aspire to reach Eden’s success. Congratulations to Eden, and all the medal winners at the Games!
Tooting Bec Athletics Track reopened this summer after a successful community campaign against its closure. It was great to be at their official reopening along with local Councillor Judi Gasser.
It was great to meet some young athletes and see the wide range of facilities that they offer, including a seven-a-side football pitch, an eight lane track, and a state of the art fitness centre. I am so grateful we have this brilliant resource on our doorstep in Tooting.
The fantastic facilities at Tooting Bec Athletics Track will be vital in helping Tooting’s children become the Olympians of tomorrow. I have no doubt that future Team GB medalists are already training here and I look forward to seeing what they all go on to achieve.
This week the Council finally listened to us!
Our beloved Tooting Bec Athletics Track will be saved and get the investment it so desperately needs and deserves.
To lose such a valuable asset in our community would be a devastating blow to so many of our young people. Having this track will be useful for encouraging young people to be physically active and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Thank you to everyone who joined the efforts to save our track!
On the eve of Tokyo 2020, Tooting is preparing to celebrate a hero of the Antwerp Games a century earlier - champion middle-distance runner Albert Hill.
Hill, who took gold at the 1920 Olympics, was born and raised in Tooting. A blue plaque commemorating his outstanding achievements is now set to be erected outside his former home.
The plaque was funded through community donations, and is the result of the tireless efforts of the students of Fircroft Primary School, who campaigned for its creation.
Local historian Geoff Simmons said, “It’s great that Great Britain’s Olympic past is being honoured, but its future is under threat. Tooting Bec Athletics Track, home to the historic athletics club Herne Hill Harriers, and used by 80,000 young people every year, has been ruled unfit for competition and is in need of repair.”
Click here to sign the petition calling on Wandsworth Tories to fund vital repairs to Tooting Track.
On Sunday I had the great honour of presenting the medals and winners’ trophy to the Sinjun Grammarians under 12s cricket team - 2021 champions of the Surrey Tier Three League.
Masterfully managed by Mukesh Dev, and captained with distinction by Rufus Ford, the team’s achievement is all the more remarkable on account of the club’s small size – with a membership of just over 50 junior players, Sinjun Grammarians rarely have enough players in the same age group to enter into league competitions. Their success is also astounding for the fact that the playing group, who were experiencing league competition for the first time, marched to the title unbeaten in all their 10 games.
I could not be more proud of this group of talented young athletes, not only for overcoming the odds and taking the title so convincingly, but for the focus, determination, sportsmanship, and teamwork they showed along the way. This is what Tooting is all about: the players are truly a credit to themselves, their families, their club, and our community.
I was absolutely bowled over by the Club’s decision to award me the title of Honorary President of Sinjun Grammarians Cricket Club. This success is undoubtedly the first of many such achievements for this passionate group of young cricketers, and I look forward to celebrating with them again in coming seasons. Well done, team!
The future of Tooting Bec Athletics Track is still yet to be secured, with vital repairs still needing to be undertaken.
Tooting Bec Athletics Track is a much-loved and well-utilised facility, both by local residents and the wider London community. The track is a home to schools, clubs such as Herne Hill Harriers, as well as aspiring athletes. To lose such a valuable asset would be a devastating blow to so many of our young people in our local area.
Top British athletes are made at Tooting Bec Athletics Track - Jade Johnson, who represented Great Britain at two Olympics, trained at the track since childhood, as has Katie Snowden, who will represent Great Britain in Tokyo next month.
By allowing the track to fall into disrepair, Wandsworth Tories are destroying the legacy of London 2012, and seriously damaging the chances of our next generation of Olympic hopefuls in the process.
The deadline for the petition to save Tooting Bec Athletics Track has been extended until 1 August – click here to sign and show Wandsworth Tories how much our community cares about the future of our young people.