East Devon gymnast competiting in World Games

A TOP athlete from Wilmington will fly out to Taipei tomorrow (Thursday, July 16) to take part in the World Games.

A TOP athlete from Wilmington will fly out to Taipei tomorrow (Thursday, July 16) to take part in the World Games.

Nineteen-year-old Douglas Fordyce is among elite gymnasts who will compete in the acrobatic gymnastics men's pair, with partner Edward Upcott, at Kaohsiung.

Parents Richard and Margaret Fordyce, who run The White Hart, are proud their son has made the grade - but fear he will not be able to continue the sport without sponsorship.

To date the community has helped raise cash for the Junior World Champion with numerous fundraising activities.

Mrs Fordyce said: "I'm so proud of Douglas. He trains a minimum of 34 hours a week and works 28 hours in a school office. He doesn't have an awful lot of time for himself - he's just so committed to the sport and strives to be the best."

But she added that they spent thousands of pounds each year for his kit, training and travel.

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She said: "It's financially draining and we are looking for sponsorship. It could be the difference between him carrying on or not being able to carry on.

"It's a worry for Douglas too. We know it's a difficult time at the moment - but every little help. It would help if a few companies could sponsor a little."

A recent fundraising 'pamper evening' in the village raised �550 for Douglas. Mrs Fordyce thanked Julie Brown and other people who helped out.

She said: "It's really nice to know that Douglas gets so much local support in the village and Honiton - from the Round Table, Honiton Lions, to donations from residents."

The couple will not be able to fly out to Taipei to watch Douglas because of the cost involved. But they hope to catch the show on television.

She said: "I know they will do their best, but it will be horrible for us - I'll definitely have butterflies!"

Douglas has also been selected for the European Team Championships in September.

The 8th running of The World Games will run from July 16 to 26 and 5,000 athletes and officials from around 100 nations will compete for medals in the 37 sports.