A TEAM of athletes – Joanne Tonkin, Samuel Joblin, Steven Gordon, and Simon Trenholm – were able to represent England and succeed in international games with the support of their local Specsavers shop.

The Darlington branch sponsored TU NOVA, a group of four local kettlebell lifters who all qualified to represent England at the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting Championships in Seoul, South Korea, in November.

The company stepped in to help fund the four athletes travel to the South Korean capital, where they placed 13th out of 40 nations taking part in the specialist event.

Joanne Tonkin also took part in the first ever female double long cycle event while Simon won bronze and silver medals.

Steven Gordon said: “It was an absolutely fantastic experience.

"We stayed in the Seoul Olympic Village, which was really exciting and we met athletes from many different nations and experienced lots of different cultures.

"We are entirely self-funded so none of this would have been possible without the help of people like Specsavers who helped with the cost of flights and accommodation.

"We are extremely grateful."