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Loads to cheer about
Tuesday 10th January 2017 @ 16:25 by Mark Phillip

Blaze UK cheerleaders are hoping to make their mark at the ICC Regional Championships in Blackpool next weekend.

Established by Becci Gordon in September 2015, the club has grown from strength to strength and caters for a spectrum of ages which range from three years old right through to a mums’ team.

Having been Head of Dance at Copley Academy for seven years, Becci, from Stalybriddge, decided to use her experience and form her own club upon returning from maternity leave.

The decision has proven to be an inspired one, as the club now boasts an impressive 95 members!

Reflecting on what has been an action-packed 12 months, Becci detailed her pride in how the club was formed: “I’ve been Head of Dance at Copley for seven years now, and I have always run the cheerleading club there” she said.

“After I had both my children 18 months ago, the opportunity to rent one of my friend’s studios – Blaze Street Dance Academy – came up, so I thought I’d start a little club on Wednesday nights for just an hour where people could drop in as they pleased.”

Although the club was originally aimed at youngsters, the interest shown from parents led Becci to form a mums’ team.

Describing the performances as really good, Becci said: “The mums’ team have just been to the UKCA Winter Championships and they came second in that.

“They were planning on competing a little bit earlier than December, but we decided to make sure they were fully comfortable and confident by the time they went to competition.

“Up until May 2016 they had never participated in the sport, so they’re not people who had grown up competing and decided to return after a break – they are literally novices who have never done it before.”

Given the lack of experience and the physical demands placed on them, how did they initially fare? “They were a little apprehensive when they first took up the sport” said Becci.

“I think they were a little worried about looking like they were 16, so we had a chat about what they were going to wear to the competitions.

“They don’t wear the same as the younger girls – we’ve got a nice kit for them.”

While the mums have a relatively long period until their next competition in May, the youngsters – dubbed the Elite Stunts – return to action next weekend in Blackpool.

Taking place at the Norbeck Hotel on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 January, the Northern Championships is one of several events hosted by ICC across the UK.

Founded in 2007, ICC has grown to be one of the biggest event producers in the UK for Cheerleading and Dance and is based on a reputation of producing safe, affordable and fun competitions.

Looking ahead to the event, Becci is hoping that her squad can take momentum from 2016 into the competition. She said: “The Elite Stunts are children aged 7-15 that we’ve chosen from all the other classes to work on an elite level.

“We started training in September and we’ve been to three competitions already this season, so they keep the same routine for the whole season.

“After each competition we receive score sheets, so we can evaluate the performance, take on board what the judges have said and try to make it better.”

With dancing in her DNA, it comes as no surprise that Becci’s four-year-old daughter is just as crazy for cheerleading. “My daughter has taken up the sport so my house is full of cheerleading at the moment” she joked.

“I hope she will be a star but I’m not going to try and live my dream through her.

“She absolutely loves it, and that’s what’s important when you’re four years old.”

You can keep up-to-date with all the latest developments at Blaze on their Facebook Page: blazecheeranddance