Inspiring support for Mail campaign

INSPIRING sportswomen from Hartlepool have backed the Mail’s Race For Fitness campaign.

Some of the biggest names in town sport have announced their support for our battle to get people to improve their health this year.

They include boxer Amanda Coulson, canoe champion Bethan Kelly, Team GB ice hockey star Amy Campbell, and footballer Lindsay Johnson.

They join an ever-increasing list of big name backers for our campaign which already includes Prime Minister David Cameron, Lord Sebastian Coe, Minister for Public Health Anne Milton, Hartlepool-born Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling and Hartlepool world champion boxer – and Olympic gold medal hopeful – Savannah Marshall.

Each of our new recruits is also part of another bid to encourage people into sport, called INSPIRE.

INSPIRE is a project in which females in the Hartlepool sporting world were photographed to encourage more players to enter the sport.

INSPIRE was originated by the town’s St Francis 2000 football club which is now working with Hartlepool Borough Council to expand the project across all sports and celebrate female participation in Hartlepool.

It also involves pictures by Hartlepool photographer Lucinda Grange of sportswomen being distributed via social media networks and a high-profile exhibition at Hartlepool Art Gallery which runs from July 7 to September 1, to coincide with the Olympic Games.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s principal recreation officer, Maxine Crutwell, said: “The aim of the exhibition is to INSPIRE women and girls to participate in more sport and physical activity.

“According to the Women’s Sport Foundation, (WSF) women are losing out. Over 80 per cent are not active enough to stay healthy. Young women leave school half as active as young men, all because being active isn’t attractive to women.”

So far, 17 athletes have been photographed as part of the exhibition.

Meanwhile, we are continuing our search to get more people to back Race For Fitness.

We want to hear from at least 2,012 people in Hartlepool and east Durham who plan to spend this year improving their health.

It doesn’t have to be a Herculean challenge. The most important thing is that you take part in our Race For Fitness project.

Whatever your story, we want to hear it between now and the moment the Olympic flame is lit on July 27.

Whatever your story, we want to hear it.

Contact Chris Cordner by writing to him at New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX, via email to chris.cordner@northeast-press.co.uk or by calling (01429) 239377.