Press Release

09 March 2012

A group of 16 talented sportsmen and women were presented with sports scholarships from Canterbury Christ Church University at an awards evening last week.

The new sports scholars amongst guest speakers at the awards evening
The new sports scholars amongst guest speakers at the awards evening

The event awarded scholarships to students with distinctive talent in an array of sports, including Athletics, Boxing, Canoe Polo, Cricket, Equestrianism, Golf, Hockey, Netball and Rugby. The scholarships will support the student’s sporting capabilities whilst studying at the University.

Dr Andy Balsdon, Director of Sport at Canterbury Christ Church, said: “This is a momentous year for sport and we’re delighted to present sports scholarships to our biggest number of talented sporting individuals”.

The scholarships were awarded by Chris Hespe, Head of Kent Culture and Sport, in the company of The Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Ian Thomas, as well as friends and relatives of the Scholars.

Past Olympians, Mel Clewlow (Hockey), Sean Kerly (Hockey), Michelle Robinson (Triple Jump) and Jennifer Wilson (Hockey), also addressed the scholars with inspirational talks about their own Olympic experiences and the upcoming London 2012 games.

Chris Hespe spoke to the audience about how the 2012 Olympics would impact on Kent and the legacy that will follow.

One of the scholars, Deanna Cooper commented: “Studying at the University I’m able to get the academic support that I need, as well as the flexibility to continue to develop my cricket at Kent Cricket Academy. This bursary means a great deal as it will enable me to fund some of the costs associated with my sport, and develop my skills whilst studying for an academic qualification.”

The University encourages young sportsmen and women to pursue their passion for sports and offers scholarships of up to £2000 per annum.  Students awarded a sports scholarship will be expected to represent the University throughout the duration of their studies as a three year undergraduate student.

The students that received sport scholarships at the event were: Grace Balsdon, Holly Campbell, Lynn Cauwels, Deanna Cooper, Sioned Fox, Rachel Hanagan, Jake Harvey, Chris Link, Linden Lockhart, Aurora Mears, Thomas Moore, Sean Perfect, Rebecca Reardon, Alison Rountree, Joshua Scimeca and Chris Sleeman.

Applications for sports scholarships for 2012/2013 opened in October 2011. The Deadline for applications are in two phases April and October.

To apply, please visit For more information, contact Kim Debling at or call 01227 863472.


Notes to Editor

About some of this year’s scholars

Grace Balsdon


Year 1, Physical Education, and Sport and Exercise Science

Grace has been selected to compete in the Great British Super League (GBSL), an annual event that showcases players who have the potential to participate in future Olympic Games. She has also been selected for the Women’s England Indoor training squad and is currently in the U21 training squad.

In 2008 Grace was a member of the U16 England squad, who were successful in winning silver in the European Championship. In 2010 she was selected for the U18 England squad again winning silver in the Four Nations in Utrecht. A year later, as captain in the Four Nations, the team won the Bronze Medal in the European Championships.

Deanna Cooper


Deanna won the National Championships with the Kent Ladies Cricket Team in 2011.  She has attended the England Women’s Academy squad for the tour to India in 2011.  In the Kent Ladies National Champions in 2008, 2009 and 2011.  She plays in the England Cricket Board Development Women’s XI and Kent. Deanna is a right hand batter and a right hand medium bowler.  Deanna has been selected to tour with the England squad in the South Africa tour this Easter.

Alison Rountree


Year 3 Sport and Exercise Science

Over the last two years Alison has represented the GB Student Riders team in both show jumping and dressage, competing in Canada, Spain and Ireland, winning a number of dressage and team awards. Her team came first in the AIEC SRNC World Finals GB dressage, and third overall in the competition.

Grace Galvin

Canoe Polo

Year 3, Physical Education and Sport and Exercise Science

Grace is currently competing in the Senior Women’s canoe polo team and recently won gold and the European Championship in Madrid.

She has been competing internationally and nationally for the last eight years, playing nationally with the Great Britain squad and Under 21s team in which she has won a Silver European Championship Medal and Bronze World championships medals.

Olufunmi Sobodu


Year 3, Business Management and Digital Media

Olufunmi is the 2011 British Universities silver medalist for 100m, and the current Essex champion.

He has competed for GB on over eleven occasions, and is the former GB Junior 4x100m relay men’s captain. He has won the Sussex 100m and 200m Championship and silver in the BUCS 100m, and ranks fourth on the U17s list for the 100m.

In 2006 Olufunmi ran a personal best in the 100m Championship which made him the joint second fastest athlete at that age, and the only athlete ever at that age to win all three sprint titles (60m, 100m and 200m) in a season.

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students, and five campuses across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

•We are the third highest university in England for student employability, with 94.3% of our recent graduates in employment or further study six months after graduating*.

•Christ Church is the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2010 UCAS).

•We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).

•2012 is the University’s Golden Jubilee, reflecting on 50 years of higher education and innovation.

*2009/10 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey


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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:15:00