On Saturday 28th July, local shoppers will get an exclusive opportunity to have their photograph taken with the Olympic Torch at Keel Row Shopping Centre, in a bid to raise money for Rays of Sunshine children's charity.
Blyth local, Alan Hoyle carried the Olympic Torch through Tynemouth and is now bringing it to Keel Row Shopping Centre to give people the exclusive opportunity to have their picture taken with the Torch in return for a donation which will be given to the charity.
Rays of Sunshine helps children between the ages of 3-18 living with serious or life threatening illnesses by granting their wishes, giving them a happy memory and a break from daily routines of medication and hospital appointments.
He said: "Carrying the torch was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am now trying to give something back to the community by raising money for Rays of Sunshine, to help make children living with serious or life-threatening illnesses' wishes come truce.
"It is an amazing charity and the dream days it grants are something for the whole family to remember and helps them take their mind off the seriousness of the illness even if it is just for one day. I hope people come to Keel Row on Saturday and have their picture taken with the torch and at the same time help children supported by Rays of Sunshine."
Alan lives in Blyth and has dedicated his work to helping children via various volunteering projects which have resulted in providing young people with clothing, food and how to respect and believe in themselves. He is the co-founder of Aspire 2 Achieve, a local organisation which helps to increase confidence and productivity of young people in the area via sport and other various activities.
Callum Reid, Keel Row Centre Manager added: "This is a great opportunity to come down to the Centre and get your photograph taken with the Olympic Torch! Alan will be in the Centre from 9:30am and we hope you all support him in raising money for Rays of Sunshine."
Keel Row Shopping Centre, Regent Street, Blyth, NE24 1AH www.keelrow.co.uk.
Article by Nicole Przewozniak.
Olympic torch relay runner Alan Hoyle took his Olympic torch on ward rounds in hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside last week.
Alan wanted to share his experience of his special day with patients who were too sick to watch the Relay pass through the North East.
Alan, aged 28, ran his part of the relay in Tynemouth on 15th June and described it as one of the best days of his life.
"The crowds lined the route all the way along Broadway to Tynemouth Front Street, their support was fantastic. But I realised that there are a lot of people who couldn't come along because they were ill or were caring for sick people.
"That's why I will be going to the hospitals in my Olympic tracksuit to show the patients and the staff the Olympic torch. I hope in some small way it will make them feel involved in this once-in-a-lifetime event." said Alan
He visited wards and departments at North Tyneside General hospital on Tuesday 10th July and Wansbeck General Hospital and Blyth Community Hospital on Thursday 12th July.
Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is delighted that Alan is visiting Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust patients.
"This is a great gesture from Alan, I'm sure many of our patients and staff would have loved to watch him run his part of the relay in Tynemouth, but couldn't make it because of illness or caring for the sick.
"I can't thank him enough for giving up his time to share his experience of the day" he said.
Alan runs Aspire 2 Achieve, a local organisation that offers young people the opportunity to participate in activities and learn new skills.
He runs his own basketball league and works with all abilities, including mentally and physically disabled people.
He has helped stop young people from taking drugs and living a life of crime, and his main goal is to show young people how to respect and believe in themselves.
For more information about Aspire 2 Achieve please visit http://www.aspire2achieve.org.uk
The Northumberland Knightflyers reclaimed the top spot of the Aspire 2 Achieve League last week with a dominating win over the young YMCA Thunder.
The Thunder, who showed a lot of improvement since their last game, scored the opening basket, but could not stop the Knightflyers who quickly took control of the game.
The Knightflyers are the first team in the Aspire 2 Achieve League to feature two players scoring over 40 points and pulling down over 20 rebounds in a single game, with Jake Watson scoring 48 and grabbing 26 rebounds, while Callum Wingfield scored 46 points to go along with his 24 rebounds, Callum also achieved his 4th quadruple double of the season as he added 25 assists and 12 steals.
Glenn Armstrong lead the game in steals with 14, every Knightflyer who played got at least 3 steals in a dominating defensive effort.
Adam Raine lead the improved YMCA Thunder in points with 12, and was 1 rebound shy of his second double double of the season, Calvin Craigen had his best game of the season with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
The Knightflyers will look to keep hold of the top spot as the team welcomes back Paul Hobson and Simon Pound, who are both in the RAF.
For further information about Aspire 2 Achieve, along with the complete league table, please visit http://www.aspire2achieve.org.uk
The new look Blyth Renegades get first win against the YMCA Thunder!
The Blyth Renegades traveled to their old home court, Northumberland College, to take on the YMCA Thunder.
Both teams were looking for their first win, after losing their previous games against the League leading, Northumberland Knightflyers. Both teams also had new faces, hoping to make a difference for their teams.
The Thunder once again scored the opening basket on a 2 pointer by Conor Hakin, who finished with 5 points, but the Renegades quickly took control behind Adam Coxon's 12 first quarter points.
The second quarter saw the first ingame action for Liam Pickering and Calvin Gregen, with both players making an impact for their teams.
As the game progressed the Renegades pulled away with a commanding lead behind Liams 30 points and Adams 26 points to come away with their first win of the season.
Adam finished the game with 26 points, 26 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals and 3 blocks to take home the MVP vote, putting him joint first in league MVP voting with YMCA Thunders Joe Philips, Northumberland Knightflyers Callum Wingfield and LTU's Do
Both the Renegades and Thunder will next play the undefeated LTU.
The Northumberland Knightflyers lose their first game during an injury filled match up with LTU.
A injured and depleted Northumberland Knightflyers took to the court to play LTU in their first match up this season.
The Knightflyers had only 6 active players, 4 of whom were suffering from injuries, struggled from the field as LTU controlled the tempo of the game, forcing a more slower pace than what the Knightflyers would normally play.
Glenn Armstrong lead the Knightflyers in scoring with 14 points while Jake Watson pulled down 8 rebounds and added 8 steals to get the MVP vote.
Tomas Baguckas lead all scorers with 34 points and pulled down 19 rebounds while Donatas Aukstolis added 27 points for LTU. Tomas came away with the MVP vote for this game.
The Knightflyers and LTU will next play the YMCA Thunder.
YMCA Thunder give LTU an early scare as LTU continue to dominate the Aspire 2 Achieve league.
LTU traveled to Northumberland College in Ashington looking to continue their impressive winning streak.
With the Thunder only having 5 players and LTU bringing a full squad it appeared the game would be yet another easy blow out for LTU. The game started with 2 easy baskets by LTU before the Thunder woke up and scored the next 4 baskets to gain the lead.
While LTU pulled away as the game progressed the Thunder battled on, scoring a season best 48 points behind Joe Phillips' MVP game of 16 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals, while Adam Raine added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Thunder.
As the game came to its conclusion LTU gave the Thunder a standing ovation.
LTU will next play the Blyth Renegades, while the Thunder will face off against the Knightflyers, both these games could be season changing games for all the teams.
Aspire 2 Achieve will be starting a new, independent Bedlington Basketball Club, based at St Benet Biscop, with the first session taking place on March 8th 2012.
Aspire 2 Achieve is a Northumberland based organisation whose prime purpose is to raise the awareness, confidence and productivity of youths in the area via the medium of sport and other various fun and challenging activities.
Aspire 2 Achieve aims to build self confidence, concentration and self-esteem in young people through the medium of Basketball and other activities.
All Aspire 2 Achieve sessions are delivered in a positive, fun, relaxed environment and aim to instil self-confidence, enthusiasm and determination in all participants, regardless of their ability.
Aspire 2 Achieve is made up of local sports personalities and local community activists, the young people taking part see how others have used sport to enhance their life opportunities.
Aspire 2 Achieve aims to put the new Bedlington club into the Aspire 2 Achieve Northumberland Basketball League, which aims to help players development around the region.
As stated before this club is totally independent and is not affiliated with St. Benet Biscop, but will use the schools facilities as a base for the new club.
Training will take place at the main sports hall each Thursday at 3:30pm - 5:30pm.
Over the February half term over 60 youngsters from the local area took to the stage to present the Blyth Valley Scouts Gang Show. The Scouts put on 6 performances from the
14th - 18th February at The Phoenix Theatre in Blyth.
The Cubs, Scouts and Explorers performed a wide range of musical numbers, packed full of song and dance, along with the traditional comedy sketches. The show included a sunny and upbeat 'holiday' section, along with a majestic 'Fire' number. There was also a number based on eighties music, the scouts very own take on the Dr Who theme and a Lady Gaga spectacular.
The YMCA Thunder opened their season against the league leading Northumberland Knightflyers. The Knightflyers, who came into the game with a two game winning streak, came into the game looking to extend their winning streak.
The Knightflyers won the top off and quickly scored the games first basket, however the Thunder quickly scored the games second basket behind a turn around jump shot by Conor Hakin.
The Knightflyers have strugged throughout the last two seasons during the first quarter, however it seemed that the curse has been broken as the Knightflyers quickly took control of the tempo of the game as the first quarter ended with a 34 - 6 Knightflyers lead.
The Knightflyers continued to control the tempo of the game, however the Thunder kept on fighting and played a fantastic game of Basketball.
'Considering that this is the first time the Thunder have played and the team haven't trained since early December, the Thunder did fantastic. The team was missing some players which could have been a problem, however everybody played a clean, solid game of Basketball where there was no foul trouble on either team.' Said Knightflyers head coach, Alan Hoyle 'The Knightflyers came out strong and played hard throughout the game, regardless of the score, I am really proud of our team, we have had a rough ride to reach where we are now, but everything is coming together, we have a great team on and off the court, everybody knows their role within the team and played it to near perfection.'
Near perfection it was, collectively the Knightflyers shot an amazing 82% from the field.
'There is little you can do to stop a team when everybody has the hot shooting hand' said Isobelle Gibson, head coach of the Thunder 'But I am so pleased with the effort the Thunder put into the game, everybody played really well and it was a great starting point.'
The Thunder was lead by Joe Philips, who scored 9 points, whilst handing out 4 assists and pulled down 5 rebounds.
'Joe has been coming along to the Knightflyers session and it showed' Added Isobelle.
The Knightflyers were lead by Callum Wingfield. Callum scored a league high 52 points, while adding 13 assists, 13 rebounds, 11 assists and 12 steals. Jonny May and Jake Watson also had season highs for the Knightflyers with 17 and 24 points respectively, whilst Glenn Armstrong had a season high 14 steals.
'The whole team played great, there were very few mistakes from any of our players' Said Alan 'Every Knightflyer played fantastic, we crashed the boards, made our shots, our passing was fantastic, our defence was the best we have played this season. If we play like that every game, nobody will be able to compete with us.'
The Thunder will next face the Blyth Renegades, while the Knightflyers will play LTU.
For more information about Aspire 2 Achieve please visit http://www.aspire2achieve.org.uk
With just 176 days to go until the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Aspire 2 Achieve revealed some of their plans for the Olympics today.
'The festival in Alnwick to celebrate the Olympic Torch coming through the town is such a great idea' said Aspire 2 Achieve Co-Founder, Alan Hoyle 'And for Aspire 2 Achieve to be able to be part of the build up to this historic event is such an honour.'
Aspire 2 Achieve will 'tip off' all Olympic celebrations at 1pm, June 10th at the Willowburn Sportscentre in Alnwick with the Aspire 2 Achieve Olympic Activities Showcase, featuring the unrivalled Aspire 2 Achieve Basketball Programme along with Video Games Design, Fine and Gross Motor Skills Development, Greenwood Work, Brazilian Soccer, Street Dancing and much more. Also featuring at this event are the Hunter Theatre Arts Cheerleaders and the Daleks from the hit BBC show, Doctor Who.
At 2pm on the same day the Aspire 2 Achieve Northumberland All Star Game will tip off, featuring the best players in Northumberland, the game promises high flying, quality Basketball action! The All Star game is the first every All Star Basketball game which will be hosted in Northumberland.
Entry to this event will cost £2 per visitor and promises to start off Alnwick's Olympic celebrations in style.
'The whole day will be fun for the whole family, with all the different events we have going on, there will be something new for everybody to try, along with the cheer leading group and of course the Daleks and the All Star game, we are hoping to put on an entertaining show for people of all ages.'
On June 13th, at 7pm, once more at the Willowburn, Aspire 2 Achieve Basketball Clubs, the Northumberland Knightflyers, Blyth Renegades, L.T.U, YMCA Thunder, Sassco Lightning and Alnwick Warriors will take to the court to attempt to break two Guinness world records.
Taking place on June 14th, Aspire 2 Achieve will be at Alnwick Market Place to put on a special Basketball display, once again, a first for Northumberland. Players from the Aspire 2 Achieve Basketball League will be switching the hardwood for trampolines as the Aspire 2 Achieve Aerial Squad take to the air to excite the crowds with a dazzling display of high flying slam dunks.
Finally on June 15th the Olympic Torch will travel through Alnwick, does Aspire 2 Achieve have surprises left for this historic day? Stay turned.
The curtain is ready to rise for the Scouts performing in the Blyth Valley Gang Show, which is taking place between Tuesday 14th to Saturday 18th February at The Phoenix Theatre in Blyth.
The family variety show features sixty four talented Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Leaders performing a wide range of musical numbers, packed full of song and dance, along with the traditional comedy sketches. This year the show includes a sunny and upbeat 'holiday' section, along with a majestic 'Fire' number. There is also a number based on eighties music and the scouts very own take on the Dr Who theme. The young people have been rehearsing and perfecting the show since October last year and can't wait to hit the stage at the Phoenix.
Heading into Game Two of the Aspire 2 Achieve Northumberland Basketball League, feedback continues to flow in after the impressive season opener which took place at Blyth Sportscentre on Sunday 27th November.
Game Two is a rematch between the Northumberland Knightflyers and the Blyth Renegades, the teams who took to the court in Game One and saw the Knightflyers coming away with the 63 - 44 win.
While the action on court impressed all who attended the game, the reception the game received left a mark on all the players who took part, along with everybody in attendance.
'I was surprised with the level of talent playing in the game' said John Stelton, a parent who had came along to the game to support his daughter who was part of the cheer leading group 'I had very little interest in the sport, but found myself really getting into the game, by the end, I was asking around when the next game will take place!'
'It was the perfect opener to our season' said Aspire 2 Achieve Co-Founder, Alan Hoyle 'Everybody who took part in the game did fantastic, both teams and the cheer leaders put on a great show for everybody, a parent compared the game as something he witnessed whilst in America, which is a huge compliment to us all.'
'After finishing the game, the team and I just couldn't wait for the next match! It was an amazing turn-out; something I really wasn't expecting as basketball in this country isn't nearly as big as it's home nation, or in some parts of the southern hemisphere.' Added Ben Deakin, forward for the Northumberland Knightflyers 'Both teams played really well and did a great service for raising the profile for basketball England - which we at the Northumberland Knightflyers are very proud to be part of. Basketball is a very fun and energetic game, not to mention a great way to get out and socialize with people of similar interests. I would implore people of all ages to give it a go, whatever your fitness level.'
'The first game of the season was a great game with a great crowd who got behind both teams and seemed to enjoy the game.' Chris Lewis, Blyth Renegades center added 'Hopefully games like this will become a seasonal event.'
Game Two looks to bit quite different from Game One, with both teams looking at different tatics to start the game, during Game One the Renegades came out strong in the first but appeared to struggle with the fast tempo in the second half, whilst the Knightflyers started slow and had to play catch up before dominating in the forth quarter.
'This has been our main issue over the last couple of seasons' said Northumberland Knightflyers coach, Alan Hoyle 'We always seem to start the game slowly then have a strong second half, we cannot keep doing this, we need to come out strong and play at a high level from tip off to the final buzzer. We played near perfect Basketball in the second half of our last game, but we really need to get something going early on this time.'
'Both teams have been training hard for the game' added Alan 'Both teams understand what they did right in Game One, what they did wrong in Game One, and have worked on correcting the wrongs each session since, it shall be an interesting game, with an important outcome.'
With a win on Friday, the Blyth Renegades could even up with the Northumberland Knightflyers at the top of the league, however if the Knightflyers come away with the win it will give them a dominating two win lead above the rest of the teams in the league.
The Aspire 2 Achieve Northumberland Basketball League is the first local Basketball league to record all statistics electronically, which has became a great hit, with over 8,000 unique visitors heading over to the league section of the Aspire 2 Achieve web site within a week of the statistics going live.
'Unfortunately I missed the first game of the season' said Aspire 2 Achieve Co-Founder Isobelle Gibson 'But I could catch up on all the statistics online'
Game Two of the Aspire 2 Achieve Northumberland Basketball League takes place Friday 16th December, 7pm at James Calvert Spence College, in Amble. Spectator entry costs £1.
The Blyth Renegades will be back in action on January 8th, as they host LTU at Blyth Sportscentre. The game tips off at 4pm. The Knightflyers will then take on LTU on January 14th, with a 7pm tip off time.
For more information about any of the teams, the league in general or Aspire 2 Achieve, please visit http://www.aspire2achieve.org.uk.