County champion teenager Kaitlyn Waddell is breaking through barriers en route to national acclaim with the support of The Bernicia Foundation.

An Inspirational Grant of £1000 is assisting Kaitlyn and her family in addressing the financial challenges associated with hotel accommodations, entry fees, event tickets, and fuel expenses as they travel across the country in the pursuit of excellence in hammer throwing.

Kaitlyn humbly aims to become the best hammer thrower she can be, with her sights firmly set on the number 1 spot in the UK for women under 20.

Hammer throwing, which has seen a resurgence in the UK in recent years since Sophie Hitchon’s historic Bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, became a passion for the already athletic Kaitlyn in 2019 when, after a year doing hurdles and sprints, her coach suggested she try hammer throwing…

“I tried it and realised I wasn’t bad at it,” said Kaitlyn. “With lots of practise and hard work, training sessions in all weathers, I became good enough to compete for Northumberland and at a national level.”


From hurdling and sprints to hammer throwing and dancing, Kaitlyn now trains seven times per week; revealing a drive beyond her years to be the best she can be.

Not only will The Bernicia Foundation grant allow Kaitlyn to continue capitalising on the influx of competitive opportunities coming her way, but it will also contribute to the extensive new kit requirements that come with competing at an elite level. From specialised throwing shoes and even a backup pair to throwing gloves and club fees – the costs quickly mount up.

“Both Kaitlyn’s step-dad and I work, but without grants like this, it would not be possible to take her to all of these events”, said Kaitlyn’s Mum, Sarah. “It would mean that she misses out on amazing opportunities and experiences.”

“Grants like this one from The Bernicia Foundation mean that Kaitlyn has been able to continue seeing so much of the country whilst following her passion and testing herself against other elite teenagers.”

Kaitlyn’s Mum, Sarah

The coaching Kaitlyn receives from David Thomas at North Shields Polytechnic Athletics Club goes beyond strength, conditioning and skills-based training and into practical and emotional support – an approach that has consistently seen Kaitlyn place in the top eight of her age group in local, and regional and national competitions for the last three years, and contributed to Kaitlyn moving clubs with her coach.

“Dave is a very reliable coach and always has new ideas to make training sessions enjoyable.”
“He wants all of his athletes to succeed and be the best they can be, and he dedicates a lot of his spare time to training me and others. He believes in me when sometimes I doubt myself.”

Kaitlyn, commenting on her coaching

“I am delighted that we have been able to support Kaitlyn and her family in attending more competitions nationwide. It is inspirational to hear how well Kaitlyn is doing, and great to see her flying the flag for the North East in such an under-publicised sport.”

Jenny Allinson, Director of Corporate Governance at The Bernicia Foundation

Kaitlyn’s hammer-throwing ambitions are now supported by The Bernicia Foundation Inspiration Grant.

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