Tori goes for glory in European finals

IN ACTION: Red Rose Rafters took the number two spot in the British selection and are now looking forward to competing on the European stage.
IN ACTION: Red Rose Rafters took the number two spot in the British selection and are now looking forward to competing on the European stage.

A Spalding woman is hoping all her training pays off when she takes to the water to represent Great Britain at the rafting European Championships in Bosnia from May 19-24.

It’s a dream come true for Tori Jones (36) to represent the nation in the competition.

But before she can set sail, her team which is completely self-funded must raise around £600 per person to cover the cost of training, entry fees, transport, accommodation and equipment.

Former Spalding High School student Tori is part of the 12-strong Red Rose Rafting group – formed back in 2009 by a group of friends who really enjoyed outdoor activities and pursuits – and are currently ranked second in the country.

The only team member based in Lincolnshire, Tori has already taken part in many competitions held by British Rafting as well as training with past national teams.

“I’ve always been into water sports, and previously did a lot of canoeing and kayaking,” says Tori, who works for British Gas as a white goods engineer based at Peterborough.

“I worked for the adventure holiday company PGL and that’s where I met a lot of my team-mates – initially it was a mixed team, that was about ten years ago.

“It’s been two months since we qualified and we’ve been doing lots of extra training and trying to get together as much as possible, although with us spread across the north of the country, it can be quite difficult.”

The Red Rose rafters qualified for the European competition in February at the British Rafting Selection held at Lee Valley after taking part in four elements – spring, head to head, slalom and endurance, which all had aspects of flat and white water to negotiate.

The team took the number two spot and are now looking forward to competing again.

“Obviously we’re all very excited, but we’re going to be up against some fantastic teams. We’ve got realistic expectations but we want to go out there and do ourselves justice – having become GBR2 we want to try to keep the ranking,” adds Tori.

“Rafting is exciting and an adrenaline fuelled sport, but I’ve been doing it for so long now, for me it’s all about the team. We’re like family.”

To find out more, or to sponsor Tori and her team visit www.pledgesports.org/projects/irf-european-championships