Athletics: Local boy on the hunt for a new star

Andrew Beadnall, right, pictured with Leeds athletics star Richard Strachan at the Bramham Park Fun Run.
Andrew Beadnall, right, pictured with Leeds athletics star Richard Strachan at the Bramham Park Fun Run.
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PROPERTY success story Andrew Beadnall and his Hunslet Trust are on the hunt for another diamond from south Leeds - to follow in the footsteps of Leeds athletics star Richard Strachan.

Strachan, 26, was denied a place at the London 2012 Games through injury but the Yorkshireman has bounced back in 2013 with a bang.

The Leeds ace was part of the gold-winning 4x400m Team GB relay team at the European Indoor Championships in Sweden – a triumph that left big supporter Beadnall thrilled.

Beadnall, founding partner of thriving estate agents Beadnall & Copley, is also the chairman of the Hunslet Trust – formed with cash generated by the sale of the old Hunslet Parkside ground in the mid 1970s.

That Trust helped Strachan in droves – and now Beadnall is on the search for someone new.

“Richard has done extremely well and he would have been an Olympian had he not been injured,” a passionate Beadnall told the YEP.

“To get a kid from Middleton with his background on the podium would have been quite an achievement for him and for all involved.

“Now, because Richard has come on so incredibly well, we’d like to find someone who is also from South Leeds – Hunslet, Middleton or Belle Isle – who could be a star of the future in whatever sport and of whatever sex.

“We’d be able to give funding from our Trust but we have also worked very closely in the past with Evans of Leeds who were very generous to Richard Strachan. They have been sensational.

“We have also got a fantastic conditioning coach, Martin Shaw, on board who is very keen to help as well.”

Since the 1970s The Trust has supported a range of schools and clubs - including Hunslet Parkside Amateur, Hunslet Hawks, Hunslet Boys Club and Hunslet Nelson.

As well as Strachan, another of the area’s biggest success stories is rugby star Jason Robinson, who started life in Hunslet and played as an amateur at Hunslet Parkside.

Beadnall was also raised in Hunslet. He grew up in New Pepper Road where his parents owned a corner shop.

Beadnall’s father, Geoff, was also director of Hunslet Rugby League club and his son’s passion for his local area and sporting scene is undeniable.

“What we want to do is help a child to get out of their current situation,” said Beadnall.

“If those kids in south Leeds went to private schools they would get so much help and extra coaching, but not the kids on this side of the river – and I was one of them many years ago. They don’t get any help at all.

“I was blessed in that I had two incredibly hard-working parents who worked literally morning, noon and night to educate me.

“So when I was 13 the unbelievable happened and a kid from the back streets of Hunslet was transported to a boarding school!

“One of the conditions was that I was sent by my parents for elocution lessons so once I could pronounce my ‘how now brown cow’, I went away to boarding school.

“I live in Wetherby now but I’ll never forget my roots – my grandparents are all buried in cemeteries in Hunslet.

“I go back regularly and I go down to Belle Isle on a Sunday morning and watch those young kids play rugby league, which is organised by Colin Cooper – that is what passion is all about.”

And it is that passion that Beadnall is now looking to utilise – with Strachan’s strong determination to succeed being the game-clincher in sealing his support.

Beadnall recalled: “When I was first starting to interview Richard for the Trust, the first thing I said was, ‘you are too old’.

“We were looking for someone younger, but when I met him I have never seen as much passion in a young person’s eyes. There was no way I could say no to him.”

Anybody wishing to appeal for support from the trust or anybody who would like to help the Trust should email for more information.

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