Table tennis champ heads to Korea for training - thanks to the Chloe and Liam Trust
A teenage sports star whose cousin died in the Manchester Arena terror attack is being supported by a Trust created as a legacy to a South Shields couple who were also killed in the atrocity.
Tom Jarvis, who is ranked as the top under-21 table tennis player in the country, was just 16 when he was part of Team GB at the Olympics in Rio.
Now, two years on, he is continuing to hone his talents in a bid to rise up the international ranking ladder.
To help, the teenager who plays professionally in Sweden, was given the chance to spend a month in Korea - during the summer break - to further nurture his table tennis skills.
The trip was self-funded, but the 18-year-old was given a helping hand to get him there by the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust.
The charity was created as a lasting legacy to Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19, who were killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack in May 2017.
The bursary handed to the teenager is even more poignant as his family were also torn apart by the atrocity, which claimed the life of his cousin Martyn Hett, 29.
Tom is currently in Korea training. His mum, Julie, said: “Our family was impacted deeply by what happened in Manchester, as my nephew was killed in the attack. Which is why it makes the bursary given to Tom all that more special.
“It is so difficult and what happened does change your life forever - it’s hard to put into words.”
Tom, from Skegness, first picked up a paddle at the age of eight after being introduced to the sport while at school.
Enjoying playing, he then joined his nearest club which was based in Grantham to improve his playing skills.
He rose through the ranks as a junior reaching 26th in the world.
However, he is now hoping to make a name for himself in the senior men’s group, and he hopes the intensive training in Korea will help give him the boost he needs.
His mum added: “He is playing in a lot of international games as that is the only way you can boost your world ranking.
“He is currently ranked 270 in the world in the men’s group. Being in Korea will help prepare him for the forthcoming season.
“He has played in China before and that is where he got his links in Korea.
“Unfortunately there is not a lot of resources out there to help fund training, most of it is privately funded. The Trust have helped him with his air fares which is absolutely amazing.
“And the fact we have got this link, it was quite emotional for us all when the cheque arrived.
“I can’t express how much as a parent the support from the Trust means to us as a family and to Tom.”
The Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust was created to help young performers and sportspeople, through the use of bursaries, to further nurture their talents.
Chloe was an aspiring performer while Liam was a gifted cricketer and it is hoped their drive and ambition in their chosen talents will encourage others to follow their dreams - something the couple were robbed from achieving.
Meanwhile, ice-cream man Micheal Godwin, owner of Micky’s Ices, is hoping his pink and blue ice cream - the colours associated with Chloe and Liam - will help boost the Trust’s funds further.
He will be on site when Marsden Cricket Club, where Liam played and coached, hosts a special day of cricket in honour of the couple on Sunday September 2.
From now until the end of the cricket day he will be selling the special ice-cream with a percentage of the cost being donated to the charity.
For information on the charity visit Chloe & Liam Together Forever Trust on Facebook.