South Tyneside JETS cheerleaders become European champions - and launch fundraising mission to compete in America at Disney World
A South Tyneside cheerleading team have become European champions – and now they are set to represent the borough in a major American competition.
South Tyneside JETS cheerleaders won their division in the JAMFEST European Championships to secure a place at The Summit competition in Orlando, Florida.
The under-17s team called Lunar, had to submit a video entry into the JAMFEST competition, which was held virtually for the first time due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
But on the day of filming at their base in Temple Park, South Shields, disaster struck.
Director and coach, Emma McArdle, said: “We had two members isolating and one was rushed to hospital to get their appendix out, so we were three down.
"We had to change the routine in just an hour, but the girls were amazing.”
After a tense two-week wait for the results, the JETS were delighted to find out on Wednesday, July 21 that they had come first place – scoring an impressive 87.2 out of 90.
The team of 24 athletes were also selected to take part in The Summit championship competition which will be held at The Walt Disney World Resort in April 2022.
Coach Emma said: "This is our first ever bid to The Summit, which has been a lifelong dream for our athletes and coaches.
"Finally reaching our goal despite the challenges faced in the past year has made us more determined than ever to make this dream come to life for our athletes.
"Their commitment, attitude and perseverance has been nothing short of inspiring."
Securing a place in the championship may be a dream come true for the cheerleading squad – but it comes at a price.
The team now need to raise £20,000 to pay for travel and expenses, including entry fees, music licenses, tickets and costumes.
The coming months will see cheerleaders hold fundraising showcases and events to raise funds, but the JETS are also hoping that businesses will support the young athletes with sponsorship.
Emma added: “We are currently looking for financial donations or sponsorship towards the costs of this amazing opportunity for 24 of our athletes.
"Any contribution would be gratefully received.”
Anyone looking to donate or sponsor the team should email: [email protected] or call: 07568 338186.