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Girls will be girls

alexscrivenerIt was back in February 2013, that young Alex Scrivener was first featured in the pages of The Wychwood; the reason for that article was her victory in the county’s under 11 cross country championship. Four years later, things have moved on, but more of that later, as it is her younger sister, Frankie, that has shared the limelight in 2017. This tale of success clearly runs in the family, if readers will excuse the pun.

From county to country
Alex’s victory on the slopes of Shotover Hill was just a foretaste of the path that lay ahead. Every year since 2013 she has powered ahead in the county’s championships in the rising age groups, as well as winning the county cross country races in Gloucestershire for her school. Her entry into the Midlands Cross Country Championships was a huge step up in class, but still she finished with the bronze medal, and so onwards to the English Schools finals in Norwich.
She could be forgiven for thinking that, with the break of her winning habit, a ceiling had been reached; such mentality is clearly alien to her nature. Though she was competing against the best that the country had to offer, her mind was set on a place in the top eight which would qualify her for a place in the England team. From the start, Alex was close to the leaders and, thanks to a superb sprint over the last one hundred and fifty metres, she finished an incredible third and, yes, a place in the England team for the Schools International Athletics meeting. All that effort, all that preparation, all that sweaty-cheeked, eyeballs-out determination was rewarded by a face of sheer exhilaration. As one commentator noted:
‘The image of Alex with her hands over her mouth and tears of sheer delight at her achievement, will remain long in the memory of those who witnessed one of the best finishes of the day.’

Team England
Athletes were ushered off the course, onto the podium in front of jubilant crowds and into the international tent, where they were given a briefing about not only what was expected of them in the future, but how they were sitting in the seats of athletes of the calibre of Sir Mo Farah. Then came perhaps the finest moment of all, when the team, including Alex, just a teenager from Shipton-under-Wychwood, were presented with their England kit. As dad Mark said,
‘The beams on their faces were immense!’ For later developments, it will be a matter of ‘watch this space’ – Alex has already represented the south-east of England in the London Mini Marathon, but meanwhile, what has her younger sister been up to?

frankieFrankie is also a good runner, representing Wychwood Primary School in cross country and winning the West Oxfordshire U9 title, but this is not where her main focus lies; she loves the performing arts. Dancing, music and acting are all bread and butter to her, or maybe that should be caviar and champagne, for she is achieving considerable success in her own right in these arts.
Up against over two hundred and fifty would-be thespians, she auditioned for a role in the musical ‘Oliver’ at the Oxford Playhouse alongside the city’s Operatic Society. Readers of The Wychwood will not be surprised to discover that Frankie excelled in her role as one of the workhouse orphans during a week’s performances in November 2016, alongside the impoverished Oliver with his plaintive cry of “more!” Frankie was in her element, enjoying every moment on that famous stage, undaunted by the 6 months of rehearsals or late night performances and in her own words, “I felt a little nervous behind the scenes but then as soon as I walked onto the stage I felt at home and I just loved it”. But there was still ‘more’ to come.

Sing your heart out
Frankie wasn’t finished yet. She continued with her drama and singing lessons and, taking good advantage of her appearance in ‘Oliver’ she perfected her own rendition of ‘Consider yourself at home’ ready for the Chipping Norton Music Festival back in March. All participants at that festival, one that has now been running for over a hundred years, receive an adjudication and just a select few receive a certificate to denote their achievement, but Frankie didn’t stop there; oh no. On the same day that her big sister was racing for an England vest, Frankie’s performance won her the ‘Bicentenary Trophy for the Junior Performance which best communicates with the audience.’ Surely, that criteria should be the yardstick for any successful performer.
Following her performance at Chipping Norton Music Festival, Frankie has been “booked” to perform again at the Shipston- on- Stour Proms later this summer.

What next?
These two sisters are just at the start of their lives. Who knows what lies ahead for these two talented yet thoroughly well adjusted young ladies? Both have enormous ambition and the determination to carry it through. Standing slightly in awe of them are two very proud parents, Mark and Liz. And while nobody can foretell the future, it seems certain that those parents will be on taxi duty for several years to come!

Bob Forster

June – July 2017