Red Funnel Island Ambassadors
Celebrating local talent, our Island Ambassador initiative will support local Island athletes, artists, and performers on their path to high-level success off-Island.
This year we will support talented Island Ambassadors, all shortlisted for their aptitude, brilliance, and dedication to their vocation. They represent a wide range of talents and careers, from gymnastics to indie rock, and pro-golf to dog sled racing, and each live, work and train on the Isle of Wight.
Meet our Island Ambassadors for 2024
Corey had a great competition year in 2023, winning 21 medals across various Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions throughout the year, spreading awareness around autism within sports and becoming the English Open Jiu Jitsu champion. For the year ahead, Corey looks forward to training hard and a great competitive season.
Clint, known as Pixie Gardner on the court, is a talented badminton player with autism. Clint has already achieved gold medal status representing the South and South West, and is the current Special Olympics national champion. Clint hopes to go on to represent the UK in the world Special Olympic games and looks forward to retaining his impressive set of titles this year.
A first time Ambassador, Isabel is an accomplished competitive dancer making every final of her competitions last year and qualifying for the World Freestyle Dance Championships in 2023. For the year ahead, Isabel hopes to make it to as many competitions as possible with Red Funnel’s support, with the ultimate goal to once again qualify for the World Freestyle Dance Championships and finish on the podium.
Releasing their debut album in 2023, Jess, Steph, Guy and Joe had an amazing year. Coach Party’s first album reached the UK Official Charts, they sold out headline shows across Europe and the UK and sold out the Blood Records special edition of their album in under 20 minutes! For the year ahead, the band hope for a successful debut American tour, a busy festival and to work on their second album.
Liberty has been training and competing successfully at gymnastics since a young age, becoming the Under 8 Southern Gymnastics Champion, now looking to win the title in the Under 9 age group. Liberty was recently selected for the prestigious Portsmouth Gymnastics Club as part of their Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Squad and hopes to be selected for the Hampshire squad this year. It is Liberty’s dream to one day compete in the Olympics.
A talented musician, singer and songwriter, Rhiannon has over 170,000 track streams to date, has already independently released an album and is a regular at music venues across the Island and mainland. For the year ahead, she is looking to continue her growth as an artist nationally, releasing more music and playing more venues. Rhiannon also hopes to play the Isle of Wight Festival once again in June.
Pro-Golfer Josh was selected to play golf for England at just 15 years old, since going on to win the TP Tour and rank number 1 in the world on the Simulator Golf Tour. Josh runs a popular golfing Tik Tok and Instagram account, where he shares training tips and techniques and records his simulator play. For 2024, Josh hopes to get a win on the Clutch Pro Tour, and to train hard to qualify for the European Challenge Tour.
A first time Ambassador in 2023, Jack consistently finished on the podium through the summer competition series to finish second on the podium overall. Jack was also the only Island born junior speedway rider asked to take part in the British Youth Championships where he faced some of the best youth riders in the country. For 2024 Jack is excited to be able to compete and train across the country, with the aim to finish on the podium at the British Youth Championship.
Passionate about tennis from a young age, Toby was recently selected for coaching by one of the UK’s top coaches based in Hampshire, as well as being a ‘Road to Wimbledon’ national finalist and getting to play on the courts of the prestigious tennis centre and qualifying for the ‘Winners of Winners’ Cup’ held in Portugal. Regularly on the podium at tournaments, Toby’s goal for 2024 is to enter more national competitions across the country, with a goal to move up the ranks within his age group and qualify for further major tournaments.
Competitive dancer Jess qualified for many top competitions in 2023, winning Starz UK, Ultimate Victory Dance Championship and Xcite. Thanks to her top competition results, Jess was selected to train with Sam Stanley Creative Associates, an industry professional, as well as being selected as part of Team England at the Dance World Cup in Prague this year. For 2024, Jess aims to carry on performing and competing at the highest level, moving up an age group into the teen section and taking part in her first international competition at the Dance World Cup.
Junior equestrian Esme and her beloved pony Tristan enjoyed a great competitive season in 2023, competing at the British Dressage Area Festival and placing 9th, representing the Isle of Wight at a Riding Club Qualifier and finishing 1st in their Novice Dressage to Music Freestyle test, qualifying for the Under 25 British Dressage and Winter Area Festival events later this year. Esme and Tristan are proud to have been selected to join a South and West Team for a 2024 British Dressage Quest team this year and have their sights on major competitions and qualifiers throughout the season.
Racing team and real-life couple, Michael & Tahnee had a super successful 2023. Tahnee came first at Olivers Mount in Scarborough, and secured 3rd place overall in the British Supermoto Ladies Championship for the 2nd year running. Michael came 3rd racing at Rowrah in Cumbria, competed at Superbiker Mettet in Belgium, and finished in the top 10 in the ACU Novice British Supermoto Championship. Tahnee’s goals for 2024 are to become faster and smoother on the track, obtaining more podiums throughout the year, as well as placing higher overall in the British Ladies Championship, while Michael hopes to place higher in the Novice Championship than in 2023.
British Kickboxing Champ Dom has been competing nationally and internationally in 2023, alongside coaching his local kickboxing club here on the Island. Part of the Team GB WAKO Kickboxing squad, Dom was proud to represent his country fighting Croatia at the World Champs in Portugal, achieving a bronze medal at the Turkish Kickboxing World Cup and winning the Ko Suu K1 title here on the Island in front of his family and friends. For 2024, Dom aims to win the British Champion title once again in a different weight class, as well as competing across the world for Team GB.
A professional kite-surfer and British Champion, Tom has stood atop over 25 podiums around the world, finishing first in the 500km Dakhla Downwind Challenge in 2023 – a kiteboarding race along the Sahara Coast. Tom has also been competing on his wing foil board, last year crowned the E-Foil racing World Champion in Dubai. Tom also holds the fastest round the Island record on a wing foil, a record set just last year. Alongside his sport, Tom has a passion for travel and content creation. For 2024, he’d like to test his metal in endurance challenges here in the UK and abroad and carry on his #FreeRideKingdoms video series, exploring the best locations across the British Isles for sports. Tom also hopes to compete once again in the Downwind Challenge and win the British Championships in Kite and Foil.
Junior showjumper Rubi has big ambitions for the 2024 season. To date, Rubi has been successfully competing with her pony Porsche in 80/90cm unaffiliated showjumping classes, winning her division at the annual Sunshine Tour competition at Hickstead. This year, Rubi takes a step up to affiliated showjumping within the Junior British Showjumping League, with her sights set on finishing top 10 in the National Pony League and being selected for the British Junior Showjumping Team. Rubi regularly trains and competes on the mainland, with her next big competition coming up in April, the Bluechip Championships, and the aim to qualify to compete at the Horse of the Year show next winter. Rubi currently competes two ponies, her own New Forest Porsche and a new competition pony Mabel, also a New Forest, who will take Rubi to the next level jumping 1m10 this year.
Julie and her 9-dog team, Sparky, Bobby, Minky, Lacey, Robin, Finley, Breezy, Maddison and new puppy Tattiana, made great tracks in 2023 on their competitive circuits. Julie is proud of her dog’s achievements since becoming Ambassadors in 2023, winning the three-dog racing class at the Culbin Rally, Maddison winning several ‘Best Puppy’ classes and gaining qualification for Championship Shows and Lacey winning Best of Breed and taking wins at several Championship show 2023. This yeah, Julie and the dogs will travel to Scotland to compete in the 40th anniversary Aviemore Sled Dog race, as well as other races this side of Spring. Then the showing season starts, with Crufts in March, the Siberian Husky Club GB Championship Show in April and lots of Championship Shows across the country. Twelve-week-old puppy Tattiana will make her debut in the show ring this year, ready to join the sled racing team next winter. The pup comes from a family of show and sled racing champions, so Julie has high hopes she’ll follow in their footsteps.
Sarah finished her competitive season with her highest ranking on the British Eventing circuit to date, jumping from a 39 points in 2022 to 66 points in 2023. Sarah is proud of her horses’ achievements over the past year, with Lily taking a 1st and three 2nds, Fleur having 5 top 10 finishes and Inky taking four top 15 finishes – the pairings facing over 100 other riders in their classes. Sarah’s goal for 2024 is to compete at as many major UK events as possible, including Chatsworth House International Horse Trials, Burgham International Horse Trials, the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, Blenheim International Horse Trials - possibly even making the 1000-mile round trip to the Defender Blair Castle International Horse Trials in Scotland. Between these international competitions, Sarah will be running at other events across the country, gaining valuable experience, with the aim to head to France at the end of the year to compete in the Etoiles de Pau, an annual three-day event held in Pau. This is one of just seven five-star events in the world - the highest level of eventing competition there is.