Fenland village supports 14-year-old gymnast’s trip to USA as she makes debut on international stage
A TEENAGE gymnast’s fledgling career will reach new heights next week as she jets off to the USA to compete in her first international event.
Stevie Harrow, of Manea, leaves England with the support of her village after residents raised �1,000 to cover the cost of her trip.
Harrow, 14, will fly to Florida on Monday to compete against the world’s best young gymnasts in The Magical Classic Invitation - held at the renowned Brown’s Gymnastics training centre.
Proud father Steve said: “It’ll be Stevie’s debut on the international stage so it’ll be a big milestone for her.
“We don’t know what to expect from the competition but it’s just another stepping stone in her progression.
“It’ll give her a chance to get used to travelling and being away from us. This event will give Stevie a possible glimpse of her future - she’s really excited about the trip.”
Harrow’s career has flourished since joining Pipers Vale Gymnastic Club in Ipswich in 2009. After training with the England squad in December last year, coach Andy Wood admitted her improvement had been “astounding” since joining the club.
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The gymnast - who specialises in bars, beam, floor and vault - has been backed by villagers who raised the four-figure sum after nurse practitioner Belinda Carson led a drive to donate funds.
A bingo night, collection tins in the doctors’ surgery, shops and the Rose & Crown pub all helped to raise money. A host of individuals also made personal donations.
Mr Harrow said: “The whole village has got behind Stevie and we’re lost for words - the generosity has gone above and beyond what we expected.
“I sometimes look at her and can’t believe she’s my child. I don’t see her as a potential world-class gymnast - I just see her as my daughter.
“Yet we’re going to have to start realising that’s what she could soon be calling herself.”