A GROUP of talented cheerleaders are preparing for a performance of a lifetime.

The seven students, from Richmond School and Sixth Form College, are heading to Atlanta as part of a team of 20 members of the Catterick-based Lazer Cheer Academy team where they will take part in the highly-regarded international Cheer Sport competition.

The competition draws in the top cheerleading teams from around the world. The students, aged between 11 and 17, are training rigorously to perfect their stunts, pyramids, tumbles, jumps and dance and are working on a show-stopping routine with which to impress the judges.

Alongside their intense training regime, the girls are also doing a huge amount of fundraising to help pay towards the costs for flights and accommodation. Already, they have done a number of Big Breakfasts locally as well as a pamper day at RAF Leeming.

They are also a nominated project in Tesco's Bags of Help appeal, at the Catterick Garrison store, until the end of March, where support would be greatly appreciated to help them receive a grant towards new uniforms and equipment for the club.

Katie Wood, 17, is no stranger to international competitions having previously performed at the 2018 World Championships in Orlando. Katie has been training with Lazer Cheer for four years and is also part of the Manchester-based Rising Stars team, travelling to Manchester twice a week for training.

She is devoting time to sharing her expertise with younger team members after passing her BCQ level 3 coaching examination.

Katie said: "I am thrilled to have passed my level three qualification and I am already using some of the knowledge in classes."

Mandy Foreman, director at Lazer Cheer, said: “This is the first time we have taken a team to America to compete and I am incredibly proud of them and the amount of extra training they are putting in."

Jenna Potter, headteacher, added: “These girls are top-class athletes. I wish them the best of luck in Atlanta.”