Norwich cheerleaders celebrate funding boost
- Credit: JAMES BASS PHOTOGRAPHY
A Norwich cheerleading squad is celebrating receiving a £1,000 funding boost to help its members compete in competitions across the country.
East Coast Emeralds, which is based at Sprowston Community High School, has been awarded the money from the Aviva Community Fund after the squad was successful with its Emerald Chariots campaign.
It is welcome news as it will help to pay for the cheerleaders to travel to regional and national competitions in their sport, and fly the flag for the East Coast Emeralds and cheerleading around the country.
Mike Copeland, club manager, said: 'It means so much to us to have been awarded funding by the Aviva Community Fund. There's a tangible benefit for the teams to be able to travel together to competitions, not only to enjoy the social aspect of cheerleading, but also to be able to prepare for competitions alongside teammates.'
East Coast Emeralds first started in 2010 and it was set up by Mr Copeland's daughters - Jenny and Becky Copeland - who were both inspired by how they enjoyed cheerleading when they were at university.
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Jenny cheered for Hertfordshire Sirens and Becky for UEA Angels, and between them they have more than 20 years cheerleading experience and continue to be the head coaches for East Coast Emeralds.
Mr Copeland said: 'It started off with 12 athletes and now we have over 100 cheerleaders.
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'We are based at Sprowston Community High School three nights a week but we actually have athletes from all over Norfolk.'
He said both children and adults were part of East Coast Emeralds.
'It's been one of the fastest growing sports in the UK I think,' he said.
'I think people like it because it encompasses things like gymnastics, dance and stunt routines. The routine has to involve all three elements.'
He said there were lots of really talented cheerleaders in the squad.
'There's some tremendous athletes, and seeing them grow in confidence is fantastic,' he said.
The cheerleaders are now looking forward to showing off their skills in lots of competitions in 2017, and building on the collection of awards the squad has previously achieved, including East Coast Emerald teams being crowned national champions several times.
For more about East Coast Emeralds, visit www.eastcoastemeralds.co.uk
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HISTORY OF CHEERLEADING
leading• Cheerleaders encourage spectators to cheer for sports teams at games and also participate in their own cheerleading competitions.
• Cheerleading originated in the United States and organized cheerleading started as an all-male activity. As early as 1877, Princeton University in America had a 'Princeton Cheer.'
• Princeton class of 1882 graduate Thomas Peebles then took the idea of organized crowds cheering at football games to the University of Minnesota.
• It was not until 1898 that University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell directed a crowd in cheering 'Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!', making him the very first cheerleader.
• In 1923, at the University of Minnesota, women were admitted into cheerleading but it took time for other univeristies to follow, and it was not until the 1940s that cheerleading became popular for women.
• Today there are an estimated 1.5 million participants in all-star cheerleading in America.
• The presentation of cheerleading as a sport to a global audience was led by the 1997 start of broadcasts of cheerleading competition by ESPN International and the worldwide release of the 2000 film Bring It On.
• There are now an estimated 100,000 cheerleaders around the rest of the world in countries including Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.