A 16-year-old star in the making is reaching out for support as he looks to serve up the perfect start to his volleyball career.
Thomas Graham-Jones, from Tollerton, has set up a GoFundMe page and is seeking to raise in excess of £6,000 to achieve his international ambitions.
He hopes that support from willing sponsors will help him make the leap from Under 17 to Under 19 level, and then eventually to becoming an international star.
He said: “Raising this money will help me and my family pay for all of the training and fees that I am going to need if I am to push forward and start playing internationally.
“It will go towards the cost of the summer training camps, hiring out facilities for practise and towards the kits and equipment that I will need for the future.
“The amount of time and money that my family are forking out for all of my training is really stressful. It is so expensive to do everything, so we need to start thinking of ways to find more money.”
Mark Jones, who is Thomas’ father and former Great Britain junior, thinks this will be beneficial on all levels.
He said: “The Volleyball England setup doesn’t have any funding at the moment, and we didn’t anticipate when Thomas got into the squad that it would cost in excess of £500 per month.
“The money will be spent on anything to do with Thomas’ career, from training to the cost of travel expenses and the kit he wears, and even special food that the dietician has told him to eat.”
Alongside his volleyball career Thomas is sitting his GCSEs, meaning he is unable to take on a part time job, and he is relying on the “bank of mum and dad” to cover the costs.
You can find out more about Thomas’ campaign, as well as his international ambitions, by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/teamtomjones.