A TEAM of youngsters are looking forward to an exciting year ahead after qualifying for a national pom dancing cheerleading competition.

Gemstone Cheer and Dance, which has teams in five age groups, has been based at Leigh Spinners Mill since September 2018.

One if its teams of cheerleaders, aged from 12 to 16, Gemstone Diamonds finished third overall in the ICC Championships in Blackpool.

And that achievement has earned them a place at the prestigious Battle of the Champions competition in Nottingham in June.

Leigh Journal:

The Diamonds on stage in Blackpool

Leigh Journal:

The Diamonds performing on stage

Leigh Journal:

The Gemstone Diamonds at the ICC Championships in Blackpool

Leigh Journal:

Trophies won by Gemstone

Lydia Gough, 21, founded Gemstone three years ago after completing coaching qualifications.

She said: "The majority of the dancers have been with the club since we started and as a coach I couldn’t be anymore proud of them.

"They were up against teams that have been going for years.

"Each dancer joined Gemstone with no experience in pom dance and some without any experience in cheerleading at all."

It is not just the Diamonds that shone in 2019. Overall Gemstone won 23 trophies including nine for first place positions.

Leigh Journal:

Lydia Gough

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At 15, Lydia competed in a European event for a Manchester pom dance cheerleading club and she is hoping she can help her members enjoy success as well.

"It is rewarding to see them progress and the hard work paying off", Lydia said.

"The group have also made really good friends – we are like a big family."

Unfortunately one member of the Diamonds cannot perform on the date of the contest in June. If you know anyone who would be interested visit gemstonecheerleading.co.uk.