Cottage team dive in to water challenge

Green Directions' Mark Woodward with the River Cottage team at Pond's Forge

Green Directions' Mark Woodward with the River Cottage team at Pond's Forge

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Food-lovers from a popular cooking show took the plunge in Sheffield to drill home the healthy eating message.

Members of Channel 4’s River Cottage team were put through their paces at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre during a masterclass in diving from the city’s young sportsmen and women.

The visit came after coach Steve Gladding and the junior Sheffield Diving Club were invited to the famous Dorset venue to learn about nutrition and help develop recipes for the show’s own chef school.

It all began with businessman Mark Woodward, whose son Freddie, aged 18, is a junior international diver for Great Britain.

Mr Woodward formed links with the show through his eco-friendly conference venue Green Directions in Stannington, which now grows produce for the aspiring athletes to create their own meals.

He said: “Inspired by our experience at River Cottage, the team returned to Sheffield and, with the help of the divers’ parents, we planted a variety of seeds and have since nurtured and harvested our own vegetables.

“We are experiencing the difference this is having on these young athletes, in both the nutritional benefits they are receiving and in their understanding of where this food is coming from and knowing they have grown it.”

Chef tutor Stefanie Smith and River Cottage ambassador Steve Lamb then made the trip to Sheffield to thank the young divers for their input – and have a go at the sport themselves.

They then took a tour of Green Directions too.

Steve said: “Working with the team was both exhilarating and daunting.

“With the guidance of coach Steve Gladding I found myself able to fall through space – with a modicum of grace – from the top of the 10-metre platform into the pool below.

“I can say the future of our partnership together, moving forward, will be less of a leap of faith due to their commitment to excellence.”

Stefanie said: “I found Green Directions inspirational in giving the divers the chance to see exactly where the food that fuels their performance comes from.”

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