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West Runton eyes on Beijing

PUBLISHED: 11:02 07 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:05 13 July 2010

A West Runton woman headed off to Beijing last week, to compete with the women's eight Olympic rowing team.

Natasha Howard, 27, attended Beeston Hall School, before taking

A Levels at Gresham's, Holt.

A West Runton woman headed off to Beijing last week, to compete with the women's eight Olympic rowing team.

Natasha Howard, 27, attended Beeston Hall School, before taking

A Levels at Gresham's, Holt.

She took up rowing while studying at the University of East Anglia and, on the recommendation of her coach, joined a number of London clubs.

Natasha, who graduated from the UEA with a first class degree in ecology, was then picked for an elite

youth group and, after spending two years juggling training with putting radio transmitters together for a London-based company, took up rowing full-time after being invited for trials with the British team.

Since joining the women's eight team in 2004, Natasha, who is a member of top London club Scullers, has competed in the world championships in Japan, also bagging bronze medals at Munich in 2007 and at Poznan, Poland earlier this year.

Parents Lindsay, an education and training consultant, and Jim, who works for an Aylsham estate agents, flew out to Beijing this week with Natasha's younger brother James, ready for the opening ceremony. The couple, who run a bed and breakfast at West Runton, will be staying for the rest of the games after the rowing finishes on August 17.

Mrs Howard said the family had been thrilled to hear Natasha had been selected for the Olympic team.

“It was absolutely stunning, just unbelievable,” she said. “But it is all down to her hard work and dedication as the training is just phenomenal.”

Proud grandparents Clifford and Beryl Lakey of Sheringham are hoping to spot Natasha on television, with friends and neighbours at West Runton also planning to follow her progress.

“Everyone in the village is supporting her, even the local butchers and post office have put up photographs so we really are very grateful,” said Mrs Howard.


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