Maryport cheerleading group aims to raise £15,000 to get to international competition in Miami

Cheer Force Knights in Maryport need to fundraise around £15,000 to get to Florida. They'll be doing this through bingo nights and bag packing at local supermarkets. Credit: ITV News Border

A cheerleading group in West Cumbria needs to raise around £15,000 to get to an international competition in Miami.

The Cheer Force Knights based in Maryport, qualified for Florida's Varsity All Star Summit, but the high cost of getting there means families are holding bingo nights and bag packing to cover the costs.

Olivia Scholey, the head coach, says the girls are determined to get there as it's such a prestigious event.

The girls have only been performing in person for around 9 months, practicing on Zoom throughout the pandemic. Credit: ITV News Border

"To even get a bid in the UK alone is just simply amazing," says Olivia. "This was the aim when we started this team.

"We wanted to get to Florida, and spend our time working hard on this routine."

The Knights' Lady Supremacy team has only been training together since January and won a place to compete in the April 2023,  after coming first place and Grand champions in two recent competitions.

Now a team aged 11 to 16 and made up of between 12 and 15 competitors are going to be heading to America next spring.

Olivia thinks it's important to have access to clubs like this for local children saying: "My kids travel from all over. I mean there's nothing else in Maryport that is available to children anymore.

"There's no swimming lessons, there's no dance clubs, so we are really the only facility for that kind of area of sport.

"We have children come from Keswick, Cockermouth, Whitehaven, Frizzington, So they travel from all over to come and train with us."

One of those who is hoping to get to the Miami competition is Fay. She has been performing with the group for a number of years and says: "For us cheer is more than just cheer.

"We find it like it's a family environment so when we're not actually here we're still the best of friends."

Another of the cheerleaders Kacie told ITV Border "It's a big thing for friendship and meeting new friends - just building a family really, it's what it's all about."

The girls say it's not about winning, but if they can make Day 2 with no mistakes, they will still return home as champions in their eyes.