SHE may be little, but 10-year-old Erin McLachlan has a big dream.
The youngster, from Meltham, is a talented gymnast and her ambition is to represent her country in the Olympics.
She started training in artistic gymnastics at the age of just seven, after her talent was spotted by a teacher who suggested she audition for a place at Greenhead Gymnastics Club.
The youngster, a pupil at Meltham C of E School, progressed quickly, winning a clutch of gold and silver medals in regional competitions.
By the age of nine, she was the highest ranking gymnast in Yorkshire.
She now trains for 21 hours a week, with twice monthly training sessions with the Yorkshire Squad, which she was selected to perform with earlier this year.
Erin, of Lower Hey, is to represent Yorkshire at the National Finals in Birmingham next month and if she does well she will be selected to train with the Junior British Squad.
Her dream is to represent Great Britain in the 2016 Olympic Games.
Lisa Hirst, Erin’s proud mum, said: “She went to a school gymnastics club and one of the teachers said she had talent and suggested she try out for Greenhead Gymnastics Club.
“Erin started going a couple of days a week, but now she’s going six days a week! She loves everything about it and she’s determined to succeed.
“Her aim is to compete in the 2016 Olympics, that’s something she really wants to do, and she’s working really hard to achieve this.
“I’m very proud of her, but she’s very modest– I’ve got a DVD of her performing, but she won’t take it into school to show her friends!”
As well as the teacher who spotted Erin’s talent for the sport over three years ago, her coach Steve Henshaw believes Erin has the potential to fly high in the sport.
Lisa said: “Her coach Steve, who has been with her since she started training, says he’s seen few gymnasts working at the same level as Erin. He thinks she has excellent potential and that she will go far.”
Sport runs in Erin’s family. Her mum used to be a gymnast, while her brother Callum plays football for Hepworth under 14s.
Lisa works part-time as a teaching assistant so that she can be there for her daughter to take her to training and competitions.
The cost of gym fees as well as taking her daughter to competitions all over the country is expensive.
Erin’s gymnastics cost nearly £4,000 last year and to help her mum who is struggling to find the money, Erin has written letters asking for sponsorship.
She has received some funding, including a £100 donation from the Kirklees Sporting Legends fund, which helps young sporting talent, but she still needs help to keep working towards achieving her dream.
Lisa added: “She’s very talented. I used to be a gymnast, but not on the same level. My mum and dad couldn’t afford to send me for training so it’s important to me to be able to support Erin.
“It’s very expensive by the time you add up the cost of gym fees, travel, competition fees and staying in hotels for competitions and it has been a struggle for me. So I’m hoping that someone will sponsor her, it doesn’t have to be much as every little bit helps.”
To sponsor Erin, contact Lisa on 07832 106243.