ASPIRING sports stars have the chance put themselves in the running for a share of £3,000.
Newton Abbot success story Firewatch South West is marking its 10th trading year by offering a number of grants to sporting clubs and individuals in South Devon.
Group managing director Martin Smith is offering £10,000 to sports individuals, clubs and associations right across the region — and £3,000 has been allocated to Herald Express readers. He said: "The money will go to anyone, preferably aged under 15, who has a good claim to it.
"Whether they are part of a team or out on their own, Firewatch South West will consider all cases and any sport.
"It may be for travel expenses, specialist equipment or to pay for extra training."
Martin has already donated a similar sum to the Plymouth and Exeter areas, and he said he was delighted to see the diversity of clubs and people he was able to help.
"Plymouth Pilgrims Boxing Club told me about the trouble that it had getting funding from anywhere. The club has now received £300.
"The Plymstock Road Runners also got a cheque, and a young man called Robbie Robinson needed a new sail for his racing yacht. I was glad to help towards the cost.
"In Exeter we gave £200 to young members of the Frisbee Association to enable them to compete, and £200 to the West Exe Table Tennis Club.
"I wanted to spread the money to as many types of activities as possible, and I think we managed it."
In total, 15 of the 35 applicants received amounts from £100 to £300, spread over 11 different sports.
Martin established Firewatch SW Ltd in 1998. With the help of former Torex Hire colleagues Max Willey and Kevin Smith, the business has grown from four employees to 33 in just 10 years.
It now offers the full range of fire protection services, as well as having a Sign and Training Division.
In 2006, Firewatch acquired The Total Hire Company, again run by former Torex colleagues Robin Hammond and Rob Freeman, and formed Total Event Hire.
It is now established as one of the leading catering equipment and furniture-hire businesses in the South West.
Martin added: "Our employees have a strong interest in many sports, and particularly football, so this is our chance to give something back to the South West area that has supported us.
"We want to hear from sports clubs, youth projects and sporting individuals — anyone, really, as long as there's a youth element."
Applicants should explain in 250 words why they need financial support and how much they would like — from £100 to £500.
Get your applications in, by letter only, to Firewatch South West Ltd, Group Head Office, 1 Brunel Road, Newton Abbot TQ12 4PB, for the attention of Martin Smith.