TWO 11-YEAR old girls from Bradford have been selected to represent their country at a major European competition for majorettes, which will be held in Spain this July.

Sophie Khan and Lillie-Grace Best, of majorette troupe Centre Stage Twirl Stars, have been picked for the England team and will show off their skills in the junior section of this year’s World Baton Twirling Federation European Cup.

The competition, held in the town of Blanes on the Costa Brava, will run from 7 July to 12 July and will showcase some of the continent’s best talent.

Both Lillie-Grace and Sophie admitted that they were nervous about the upcoming competition, but also excited and very proud of their achievements.

"I'm really happy and grateful to be competing in the European Cup and to be representing England", said Sophie.

"Sometimes learning new skills is hard but if you keep practicing, you'll get there. I'm a little nervous but I feel confident at the same time.

"If it wasn't for our coach, Nicola Standing, and the BMSA (British Majorette Sport Association), we wouldn't have this opportunity to represent England, so thank you to them", she continued.

Lillie-Grace said, "I started majorettes because I wanted to be part of a sports group. I'm very proud of myself and I'm a little bit nervous, but I'm more excited than nervous.

"The thing that I'm looking forward to the most at the European Cup in Spain is representing England and just being there."

Zoe Best, Lillie-Grace’s mum, said, “Lillie-Grace has only been going to Centre Stage for a year. She’s really excited and can’t wait for the European Cup.

"She practices everyday and is really good at what she does and everyone is so proud of her."

Nicola Standing, who helps to run the Eccleshill-based Centre Stage Twirl Stars, said, “Sophie and Lillie-Grace have done exceptionally well. Lillie-Grace first got involved with us a year ago, and Sophie nine months ago - so for them to get into the junior England squad and compete in this competition is even more amazing”, said Nicola.

“The girls are very excited and it’s all becoming very real now."

Centre Stage Twirl Stars is a not-for-profit community sports club. All the money it receives goes back into the club and, following the success of Sophie and Lillie-Grace, more funds need to be raised to help cover the cost of things like travel, accommodation, costumes and official England team tracksuits, Nicola says.

“The girls need money for their upcoming trip and as a result, I’d ask anyone who is interested in sponsoring us to get in touch. We've held our own fundraising events and we would also like to be considered for local galas and fayres."

Zoe, Lillie-Grace’s mum, said that fundraising is vital for the girls and for the troupe as a whole: “Fundraising is very important, as not all parents can afford these things and the troupe need as much money as we can to keep going.”