Sarah overwhelmed by Cameron visit

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HER smile was as wide as the River Bann.

Coleraine schoolgirl Sarah Allen could hardly contain her excitement after she and her clubmates met Prime Minister David Cameron at Bann Rowing Club on Wednesday morning.

“He asked me when the next race was and how I’d get on,” gushed the Coleraine High School pupil who joined the Hanover Place club four years ago.

Sarah said it was “a great honour” to meet Mr Cameron and that her mum and dad would be so proud.

Part of the much feted “next generation” of outstanding Bann talent, Sarah was selected to row for Ireland in the forthcoming Home Internationals in the WJ18 quad as part of the Coupe De la Jeunesse team.

Brooke Edgar - who won gold in the women’s junior 18 pairs with Bann’s Emily Hutchinson plus a head-turning novice sculls victory at the Irish Championship, also made the Coupe De la Jeunesse team with Aoife Cooper from Muckross.

And the girls repaid the selectors’ faith by winning a silver medal at the Coupe de la Jeunesse championships in Banyoles, Spain, last month.

Emily Hutchinson also celebrated a bronze for Ireland at the Home Internationals in Cardiff.

According to Sarah, success is breeding success in the progressive - and now world famous - club.

“It’s great, good competition, a good place to come to get fit “I never really thought about rowing but then a friend told me about it and I came down to see what it was all about and then I just really got into it and liked it.

“I usually row in the sculls. At the Irish Championships down in Cork two or three weeks ago we rowed in a Four and got a silver.”

And she said the exploits of Alan Campbell and the Chambers brothers were providing a template for further Bann glory in years to come.

“It really is an inspiration. Whenever you come down here and see how well they have done and they came from the same club as you, it’s just an ispiration.

“You can’t believe what they have achieved and it you an opportunity to do the same.

I’ve been glued to the TV every morning cheering them on.”