Hatters success is a family affair for starlet Georgia, 18

Georgia Gayle of City Of Sheffield Hatters goes on a determined run v Nottingham Wildcats in the Betty Codona Classic Final
Georgia Gayle of City Of Sheffield Hatters goes on a determined run v Nottingham Wildcats in the Betty Codona Classic Final
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Starring for the Sheffield Hatters was always destined to be a family affair for young starlet Georgia Gayle.

For the England Under-18 star was inspired to take up the game by her grandmother - who happens to be Betty Codona, who founded the Hatters in the 1960s, helped them win almost 50 titles and was awarded an MBE to her services to the sport.

Her mum Lorraine and auntie Vanessa Ellis, now coach of the Hatters, also played for England Women and dad Garnet is a former star of Sheffield Sharks and Saints.

But Georgia has some talent of her own, too, and has been selected as part of this year’s SSE Next Generation scheme, as one of 100 young athletes identified as potential Commonwealth Games and Olympic medallists of the future.

“I have a basketball family - so I was always going to end up playing myself,” Georgia, a sixth-form student at Bradfield School, said.

“I’ve played all my life because my family run the club I compete with - Sheffield Hatters. My Nan [Codona] started it about 53 years ago and was honoured by the Queen for services to basketball.

“My mum and my auntie also played for England Women and my auntie captained England quite a few times as well. My dad started when he was older so he didn’t play for England but was one of the best players in the country.”

Georgia added: “Last year was my first year playing for England and I was really nervous at the beginning.

“It was a bit daunting at

first because you’re always worrying and wanting to play well. In the first few tournaments I didn’t think I’d make the team but then I got selected to go out to the European Championships in Romania.

“I ended up being the team’s top scorer which was absolutely amazing.”

n SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date: @SSENextGen.