RIBBLE Valley's mayor has paid tribute to the borough's budding sports stars - and said they should be very proud of their parents too!

Coun Alan Yearing presented 21 young athletes with grants to help them over the 12 months in their pursuit of sporting excellence. Cheques were given to people participating in the upper echelons of all sorts of youth sports.

Coun Yearing said: "It is a delight to be able to hand out these grants which go a small way to helping talented young athletes to push forward in their chosen sport.

"They are a credit to the borough, but so are their parents. They travel all over to support their youngsters and I dare say put considerable finances behind them."

Jenna Woodcock, 14, a pupil at Ribblesdale High School, received £200 to help her compete across the country in Netball. She said she hopes to break into the England schools team over the next year.

Christopher Holt, who has played for the Ribblesdale League under-15s cricket team, hopes to be as a regular in the Lancashire schoolboys team over the next year. He received £100.

Jonathon Schofield, 18, has received several grants from the council as he pursues national glory in canoeing, including £300 this year.

He said: "There is no doubt the council's support has been vital to my success."

Canoeist Daniel Noblett, who specialises in white-water canoeing, said: "I broke an oars in a competition, so this grant will be very helpful indeed! Over the last year, I have been to Zambia, and hopefully will get to Norway again this year."

Daniel Wyatt, captain of the Clitheroe Royal Grammar School ski team, was awarded £200.

In total, £3,450 was awarded. Grants are available to students living in the Ribble Valley who are deemed to be talented in sport at county level or above.

Other grants included: Jennifer Laycock, cricket, £150; Louise Highton, pentathlon, £250; Jack Dewhurst, cricket, £100; Stephanie Novack, netball and javelin, £150; Elizabeth Highton, modern pentathlon, £200; Sarah Crossley, running and pentathlon, £100; Michael Smith, athletics and pentathlon, £150; Laura Alston, netball, £150; Carloine Wyatt, ski-ing, £100; Elizabeth Thomas, tennis, £200; Samantha Murray, cross-country, £250; Robbie Schofield, athletics, £100; Anna Griffiths, athletics, £150; Mark Jaggs, swimming, £100; Nathan Bibby, cross-country, £200; Kristian Bibby, cross-country, £100.