– Mary Peters Trust and Hughes Insurance award £500 bursary to Banbridge Athlete-

Hughes Insurance has announced that Laura Comer, a 17-year-old Badminton player from Banbridge, is the fourth athlete to have been awarded a £500 bursary as part of an ongoing partnership with the Mary Peters Trust. The £5,000 bursary programme, which is now in its second year, awards funding to ten young athletes from across Northern Ireland throughout 2022. The athletes are selected by Lady Mary and her Trust with the bursary given by Hughes Insurance to support them on their journey.

Lady Mary Peters said: “Laura is a very worthy bursary recipient. Her diligence and dedication to badminton over the past ten years is evident from her many wins and I hope that this funding will help to support her as she prepares to compete in the European Badminton Junior Championships this summer.”

Laura, a member of the Ulster Senior team, says her passion for badminton was inspired by her parents’ and grandparents’ involvement in the sport, with her parents having represented both Ulster and Ireland at a senior level previously. She has achieved numerous wins to date, including two in the U19 Ulster Open, and was ranked Silver in the 2021 Senior National Badminton Championships, along with collecting U19 Irish titles too. She is set to compete in the 2022 European Badminton Junior Championships in Belgrade, Serbia this August.

Laura trains at Lisburn Racquets Club five days a week and aims to keep training hard to eventually represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games.

Commenting on her bursary, she said: “I’m delighted to have been selected to receive this bursary by Mary Peters Trust and Hughes Insurance. Badminton has been my passion since

I was seven and I have trained hard over the past decade to keep getting better and better at the game.

“To have this acknowledged by the bursary programme means a lot. The funding will allow me to get individual coaching in preparation for the European Badminton Junior Championships, for which I’ll be training five days a week.”

She continued: “Competing has helped me to become independent and has allowed me to travel the world. I definitely hope to inspire other young Northern Irish athletes, especially females, to pursue a career in competitive sport.”

Bethany Carroll, Marketing Executive at Hughes Insurance said: “It is a pleasure to renew our partnership with Mary Peters Trust for the second year running. Our 2021 programme was a tremendous success, with ten young athletes from across the country, supported on their individual journeys to sporting success, and we hope to achieve the same in 2022. 

“Laura is an incredibly talented athlete and true inspiration to other young women in sport. We hope that this funding will help her along her journey to realising her potential and look forward to watching her compete in Europe this summer!”

The Mary Peters Trust is the only province-wide organisation to provide support to young athletes from all recognised sports. Along with Hughes Insurance, it is also supported by Alchemy Technology Services, who this year became a podium partner to support the Trust’s activities throughout 2022.

The further six successful bursary recipients will be announced throughout 2022. To keep up to date with the selection, follow Hughes Insurance on social media, @hughesinsuranceni.

For more information on Hughes Insurance visit hughesinsurance.co.uk and for more on the Mary Peters Trust, visit marypeterstrust.org

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