SIXTH former Joe Braithwaite has become one of only 70 people to win a place to study for a Diploma in Sporting Excellence with England Hockey.

Joe, of Ilkley, who flexi-boards at Giggleswick School, will study the BTEC level 3 qualification alongside his A levels in maths, physics and geography. The prestigious diploma, which attracted around 400 applicants, involves attending England Hockey headquarters at Loughborough on selected weekends. It aims to provide a structured training and development route for high potential hockey players.

Said Joe: “I am delighted to been chosen for the course. When I came to Giggleswick in year seven I had never played hockey before, but you’re encouraged to have a go at everything here so I started going to hockey club. I also joined Ben Rhydding Hockey Club, where Giggleswick’s hockey teacher, Max Helme, is the coach and that continuity has really helped my game.

“Now I’m helping coach the school club as well as playing for the school first team, Ben Rhydding Hockey Club and West Yorkshire.”

Joe’s coach, Max Helme, said: “We’re delighted for Joe. The fact that he has been offered a place on the course is a great achievement and testament to his hockey playing talent and skills. We’re looking forward to seeing him develop further and continue to excel in his sport.”