Britain’s got more talent

By Online Editorial

Great Britons British Airways

Eight talented Great Britons have been shortlisted to receive free flights to pursue their dreams in the fourth round of the British Airways Great Britons Programme.

The programme, launched in February with Sir Chris Hoy, underlines the airline’s commitment to the London 2012 Games and supports budding talent with a £500,000 travel fund between now and 2012.

Judges Olympian Denise Lewis and charity founder Jeremy Gilley considered a wealth of applications ranging from artists to athletes in order to short-list the final eight.

The short list includes a snowboarder, a fencer, a fashionista and the philanthropic group ‘Chocks Away’.

The public can now vote for:

Jamie Barrow (17) from Carlisle – a talented young snowboarder needs flights to compete in the crucial SBX international races. His ultimate goal is to represent Team GB in the 2014 Winter Olympics. He said: “I have a jolly good chance of making it to the next Winter Olympics and there is no way I want to give up that chance. Winning on the slopes means first winning sponsorship.”

Emma Bell (26) from Newcastle is a growing talent in fashion. She has already hosted two solo shows at London Fashion Week, launched her own sub-brand of shoes and did a recent stint as Creative Director for an exclusive fashion event. A former extra in Byker Grove, Emma’s ambition is to fly to Tokyo to gain valuable experience and contacts in the fashion industry.

David Aspinall and Ben Stevenson from London are better known as ‘Chocks Away’. They are on a mission to drive to Cameroon in their vintage Royal Blue 1934 Austin Seven in support of charities -SOS Children’s Villages and Send a Cow. They need support to fly back from their final destination.

Rachel Freeman (48) from Shropshire – applied on behalf of Blue Eyed Soul – a dance company dedicated to bringing together disabled and non-disabled people in a creative environment. If they secure flights, they will head to Hong Kong to work with a group of disabled artists.

Sophie Gledhill (21) from Hertfordshire is a talented Cellist, who was recently awarded a rare placement at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in New York. After escaping from a potentially fatal car accident earlier in the year, she is now more determined than ever to realise her dream.

Jenny McGeever (17) from Devon is already showing immense promise in fencing. She represented Great Britain at U17, U18 and U20 levels and has already been selected for the GB Team entering the Junior European Championships in November. Jenny needs flights to take her to important competitions abroad.

Felicity Milton (22) from Leicestershire has already been running at Olympic standard and aspires to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Games. She needs flights to San Francisco to attend prominent US College Stanford where she has been offered a place to complete a Biomechanical Engineering postgraduate degree.

Sarah Thomas (16) from Wales is a talented badminton player, dedicated to representing Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. By developing her game and training hard, Sarah ultimately hopes to compete at Olympic level. As a junior, Sarah is too young for the GB Funding programme, and needs support to fly to the World Badminton World ranking tournament in Johannesburg.

The finalist with the most votes will secure free flights to their desired destination to help reach their goal. Voting is open until Monday September 14 at

About the British Airways Great Britons Programme

The programme has already helped many British hopefuls achieve their dreams.

Previous winners include a real life Billy Elliot – 16-year-old Daniel Dolan from Chester who was awarded flights to Moscow to train with the Bolshoi Ballet; Georgina Geikie – a 2012 hopeful in pistol shooting who needed flights to Zurich to train and most recently – quadriplegic sailor Geoff Holt (43), who will now fly to Antigua with his family before sailing back solo across the Atlantic.

There is still plenty of time to register or re-submit applications with winners selected every two months until 2012. For more information, go to


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