A TALENTED karate bunch from Huntingdonshire have launched an urgent appeal for funds that will allow them to compete at the World Championships in Cancun, Mexico early next year.

A TALENTED karate bunch from Huntingdonshire have launched an urgent appeal for funds that will allow them to compete at the World Championships in Cancun, Mexico early next year.

Members of the Tora Seishin Academy, which runs classes in Buckden, Godmanchester and Brampton, have been offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity after impressing Great Britain coach of the World Congress of Martial Arts (WCMA) - Master Ian Parker - back in April.

But in order to fulfil their dream, the club needs secure sponsorship, netting a total of nearly £2,300, by the end of next month.

Sensei Karina Whittington, chief instructor at the academy, explained: "In March, I was approached by Ian Parker, who wanted to have a look at our club and students.

"The plan was that, if he liked what he saw, then he wanted us to consider joining his Great Britain team to compete in Cancun.

"He came over to observe a class in April and we were delighted when our members were then selected as a result to compete in the World Championships,

"I can say, without doubt, it is the biggest honour of my martial arts life so far - spanning 15 years now."

Lucky members from the academy - a mixture of youngsters and adults - have been selected for the trip.

They are: Rhys Wittington, Zack Guest, Abi Guest, Tyla Munday, Jacob Reynolds, Sensei Richard Whittington, Sensei Karina Whittington, Owain Hinson, Tom Carter, Henry Peters, Theodora Knaepel, Robbie Stewart, Joshua Jarvis, Cameron McCollin.

And Karina is keeping her fingers crossed that kind-hearted local businesses will step in and make sure the members are able to go.

"We desperately need local businesses to step forward and sponsor us or there really is no chance of our members going," she said.

"Any business sponsoring us will be featured on the WCMA GB website and also the home page of the academy's site.

"Our members are also busy also trying to raise some funds to help towards the costs themselves.

"We have planned to do some bag packing at local supermarkets and also have plans for an inter-club competition."

To go to the World Championships in Mexico, which take place between January 4-11 2012, the young members need to raise £740 while the adults must raise £1549.

Is YOUR local business able to help? Interested parties should urgently contact Karina Whittington on 07952 741743 or by emailing sensei@toraseishin.co.uk