18 year old Woodsetton Karate champion Tom Hickman received a free bus and coach pass from National Express on Tuesday 7 August.
The pass was handed over during a special ceremony with Dudley MP Ian Austin and National Express Director of Policy & External Affairs Anthony Vigor at Birmingham Coach Station in Digbeth.
The bus pass will allow Tom to travel on National Express West Midlands buses within the Midlands, Black Country and Coventry for free, and the coach pass will give him the opportunity to travel around the UK on National Express coaches, also for free.
Austin launched a search for funding earlier this year after meeting up with Tom and his mum at their home in Woodsetton. They told him how Tom, a World and English champion in his age group, had been forced to fund his travel, kit and accommodation by doing fun runs, holding car boot sales and washing cars. Austin appealed to local and national businesses to come forward as well as writing to the Minister for Sport.
Tom and his mum Jess say the pass will make it much easier for them to travel to competitions in this country.
Tom Hickman said:
“I would like to thank Ian Austin MP for taking so much interest, time and effort in me and my sport and give my total gratitude to National Express for their generous offer of free travel. This will enable me to continue travelling to different venues around the country to compete and train. I would also like to thank my instructor Paul Campbell and all the other coaches who without their help and support I would not be the Junior World Karate Champion”.
Anthony Vigor said:
"We are proud to support an emerging local sports star such as Tom by providing free bus and coach travel to assist with his training and competitions."
Ian Austin MP said:
"Tom’s at the very top of his sport. Given what he’s already achieved, everyone in Dudley should know his name. It would be a tragedy if lack of funding limited his ability to compete so this free travel pass will be a great help.”
Published 8th August 2012