Stuart Perry is a 14-year-old student from St Peters who decided to give volleyball a go just before the first lockdown hit, and has now been selected for the England U17 national volleyball squad.
The talented student is currently at Invicta Volleyball Club and will represent England both overseas and more locally.
We caught up with Stuart’s mother Sandra Perry who spoke to us about her son’s exciting call up, his training regime, and the hope for sponsorships to help with the high expenses.
Sandra told us: “A few months before COVID hit Stuart decided he would like to try Volleyball. He’s an incredibly sporty young man and has trained Parkour since he was six years old and is very fit. We found Invicta Volleyball and signed him up and he just fell in love with the game.
“When the first lockdown hit, he trained alone just working on serve, ball control and his vertical jump height. Most of this was in his bedroom or the garden. When restrictions eased and the beach volleyball season started the club moved to its summer location in the beach courts at Canterbury Academy. Stu really enjoyed the beach and trained every possible session and took his own net to the local beach to train with a friend.
“This summer he entered the UK beach tour junior series and with his partner Shem Lejarde achieved bronze, silver and gold medals including the Invicta Cup.
“In October, just a few weeks after returning to indoor volleyball, Stuart went to the Volleyball England Trials. As he was fairly new to the sport, we felt it would be a good experience for him to sample that level of coaching. He got selected!
“He’s dedicated to everything he does and he gives it 110%.”
Stuart now attends monthly training camps with Volleyball England but Sandra knows it comes with its expenses: “We are looking for a company or group to sponsor/help fund him. After COVID, sports funding available to Volleyball England has shrunk and they have about 14 sponsorships available through both girls and boys cadet and junior squads, that’s not many over 100 athletes.”