MENSTON siblings Alex and Rebecca Flaherty have expressed their delight after qualifying to represent West Yorkshire at the English Schools' Athletic Association National Cross-Country Championships.

Older brother Alex, who is 13, has previously run for Yorkshire at the Inter-Counties Championships but now makes the step up to a national level – and does not want to stop there.

He said: "When I've finished school it would be brilliant to represent my country in cross-country running and try to make people in Britain proud."

The support he receives from Bradford Grammar School has had a big impact on Alex's career to date.

He said: "It's the all-round atmosphere that makes me happy at BGS; the supportive teachers, the friends you have and the great sports facilities."

Younger sister Rebecca, 12, explained that another pair of famous siblings, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, had influenced her.

"I am inspired by the Brownlee brothers, because they came to BGS and worked hard and persevered, running for the school cross-country team," she said.

The pair have utmost respect from those who know them best. Their cross-country coach Mike McCartney said: "To have siblings, a boy and girl, who are both excellent runners is unparalleled."

McCartney also praised the facilities and the attitude at BGS, stating that they give the chance for any sports enthusiast to give their favourite sports a try.

"Sport at BGS is for everyone whatever their ability, from beginners to the very best," he said.

"It gives you some real foundations in life, helps the pupils build relationships and ultimately boosts mental well-being."

Headmaster Simon Hinchcliffe stated that the pair are terrific pupils and they "model our values, with their 'get up and give it a go' spirit encapsulated in our age old school motto 'HocAge'."

The final word should go to the woman who knows the pair best, their mum Sarah, who said: "I am very proud of them both.

"It is wonderful to see the way they support and drive each other. They love running but they also put in a lot of hard work, running in all sorts of conditions – wind, rain, snow and usually lots of mud!"