The Lions Club of St Austell helps trio of talented youngsters achieve their dreams in memory of founding member

Posted on 16th November 2023 by

The Lions Club of St Austell has partnered with Young & Talented Cornwall, The Lord Lieutenant’s Fund to help gifted youngsters from the area achieve their dreams. The community organisation has donated £4000 to the 2023 programme which supports the next generation of superstars who otherwise lack the means to achieve their potential in memory of Michael Collins.


Michael was a founder member and four times President of the Lions Club in St Austell and sadly passed away in December last year having dedicated 54 years of loyal service to Lions Clubs International and the local community.


The funding will support three of St Austell’s rising stars:


Aston Purnell (age 19, St Austell) – Ballet dancer Aston recently completed training with the English National Ballet School and has been offered a place in America with Boston Ballet School. The grant will help with associated expenses.


Ashleigh Masters (age 14, St Austell) – Ashleigh is an acro gymnast and competes in a trio which recently represented GB at the Acro Championships in Germany placing second. The grant will help with equipment and competition costs.


Tilly Dodd (age 15, St Austell) – Tilly captains Cornwall Cricket’s U15s and has also represented Cornwall Ladies Team. Tilly dream is to become a professional cricketer and one day play for England. The grant will go towards equipment and travel.


Since Young & Talented Cornwall was set up in 2006, grants worth almost £400,000 have been handed out by the programme. Alongside the three youngsters from St Austell, a further 17 young Cornish musicians, dancers, performers and even a go-kart driver and fashion designer have been awarded, making this the largest funding round to date.


Barbara Collins, Michael’s widow says: “Michael would have been proud to know that the Lions Club of St Austell has collaborated, in his memory, with Young & Talented Cornwall.  During his 54 years of active service in Lions he was often involved with helping young people and it is fitting that, through the Lions contribution, this continues.“


Lord Lieutenant Colonel Edward Bolitho OBE heads up the Young & Talented Cornwall programme and says: “Young people are the future; it is vitally important that we give them all the help that we can to nurture their talents and go on to achieve great things, regardless of their background.


“I am delighted that we have been able to support such a strong cohort of talented youngsters and it is thanks to the invaluable support of local businesses and groups such as The Lions Club of St Austell that we have been able to achieve our biggest funding round yet. Cornwall is a hotbed of talent, and these youngsters are just a small taste of our young stars in the making.”


Alongside The Lions Club of St Austell, Young & Talented Cornwall is supported by a number of local business partners, including Wildanet, Roddas, St Austell Brewery, Seasalt Cornwall, Falmouth University and Truro High School for Girls.  Last year’s Cornwall Christmas Fair – one of the county’s most vibrant fundraising events – also contributed £20,000 to the programme.


Applications for the next round of grants are now open, click here to apply. For more information or to find out about sponsorship, contact us today.