You have a friend in me! How a unique friendship between 3 Bideford girls has led to national sporting success

Posted: 4th Jul 2019

Category: Health & Fitness

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Sport may be famous for its fierce competition and rivalry but three young women in Bideford are proving that friendship can also be one of the key ingredients for sporting success.

17 year old Ruby Ivory, 17 year old Megan Wray and 16 year old Alice Beresford are pupils at the Kingsley School in Bideford and have all been selected for the Team GB Handball squad. Ruby and Megan play for the Under 19 squad and Alice plays for the Under 17 squad.

The three best friends are also members of the 1610 Torridge Pool gym where they work out regularly under the FANS scheme which allows them free access to gym facilities. (Free Access for National Sports People).

Ruby who plays at Left Wing has been selected for the U19 squad to compete at the European Handball championships in Bulgaria on July 11th. The girls were introduced to the sport six years ago at their school by a French Handball coach and they have steadily moved up the rankings together from club level to county, regional and then to national level.

Ruby says that Handball is a fast and creative contact sport and that playing at such a high level can be very intense: “Playing for England and then team GB is a very full on experience so it has been wonderful to share that with my two best friends. We support each other a hundred percent however well we play. I have known Alice since we were at nursery school together and I have been best friends with Megan since she joined the school in Year Seven. We train together and discuss tactics and performance, it seems a rare and unusual privilege that the three of us can experience this together.”

All three are members of Bideford Blacks Handball club but train at the Torridge Pool gym for free under the FANS scheme. Megan says that the FANS scheme has helped them enormously as well as support from Bideford Blacks; “The coaches and support we have received has been amazing! Without them, we wouldn’t have got to the level we all play at now! A massive thank you goes to all the coaches and volunteers at Bideford blacks that allow the club to run and achieve! 

It is also great to be able to use the facilities at the 1610 gym at Torridge Pool for free as we are able to monitor our cardio performance on the running machines and we can build strength and fitness with the weights. It really takes the pressure off being able to train locally and maintain the fitness levels needed to play at an elite level. “

Women’s sport is enjoying national prominence with the success of the England women’s football team at the World Cup. Alice says that the sport of Handball is also growing in popularity especially amongst their age group; ‘Since we started six years ago we have seen a great increase in the numbers now playing Handball. Within our age group it has become fiercely competitive as it is such a fast- paced intense contact sport. But it is great to have a support system playing with Ruby and Megan as we really motivate each other and have a lot of fun together at the same time.”


For more information on the FANS scheme please contact Eleanor Smith at 1610 email    Tel 03 300 581610

For more information about Bideford Blacks Handball Club please contact Kingsley School Bideford. Sessions take place on Tuesdays 5.30pm-7.30pm or Wednesdays 7pm-9.00pm.