Downham Market-based Marquettes hoping for a great 2011

West Norfolk's only baton twirling and cheerleading group is looking forward to next year after an exciting and successful 2010.

Downham Market-based Marquettes has been celebrating receiving two grants totalling �2,000 recently as well as one of their members, Lauren Coe, becoming a national champion.

Group founder Anita Cornish said this year has been the best for the Marquettes since her daughter Natalie begged her to start it in 1999.

She said: 'This year has been fantastic and we have received grants of �500 from Mars in the Community and �1,500 from Grassroots.

'This money has gone towards new pom-poms and uniforms as well as a laptop and a printer, which means we will have everything on one computer and not have to keep rushing around using other people's computers.

'We have also been able to buy two new sound systems for training and more costumes for club and individual competitions.

'The help we have received this year has meant we've also been able to concentrate on training and we were extrememly proud when Lauren became national champion in the basic strut element at the British Baton Twirling Sports Association's Festival Week.'

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She added: 'We have had quite a few national champions over the years so I am hoping we might be able to have a few more next year.'

The group attracts girls from areas surrounding Thetford, King's Lynn, Ely, Littleport and Wisbech, as well as Downham Market.

The ages of the group's girls range from three to 21 but Mrs Cornish said young mums up to the age of 30 have also got involved in the past.

She continued: 'We are now aiming to get tracksuits for the girls so we are fundraising like mad to keep the cost low for parents.'

The Marquettes train at Downham Market High School on Tuesdays where the girls learn baton twirling, juggling, cheerleading, gymnastics, ballet, contemporary jazz and street dance skills.