Jean Pickering Scholarships

Announcement of Scholarships supporting six young athletes in their development toward qualification for Team GB, Tokyo 2020

Jean Pickering was often called the Fairy Godmother of British athletics and served the sport of athletics in so many ways over her lifetime, particularly through her work for the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund.  Jean sadly passed away in 2013 and it is in her memory that the fund decided to create the Jean Pickering Olympic Scholarships.

This scholarship builds on the success of the Great 12 Olympic Fund, where 21 athletes were selected for support three years ahead of London 2012.  An extraordinary total of nine of the 16 age eligible athletes were chosen for the 2012 British Olympic team, with five of these making their event final and one, high jumper Robbie Grabarz, winning a bronze medal.  An initial five athletes were similarly supported in their journey towards Rio 2016.

The Jean Pickering Olympic Scholarships have been established to support athletes in their progress to Tokyo 2020.  The £75,000 fund will be distributed to the 6 selected athletes over a 3 year period leading up to Tokyo 2020.

When selecting the recipients it was very important that the award makes a real difference to their development and focused on athletes from less financially strong environments or with a specific need to help them get to the next level.  The funds will be used for athlete development and support costs with further support from the RPMF in the form of guidance, advice and mentoring on their individual journeys.

For Tokyo 2020 Jean Pickering Olympic Scholarships we chose to support athletes in 6 deserving categories:

The athletes selected by the fund to receive these Scholarships are:

Alicia Barrett – Sprints/Hurdles (100m Hurdles)

(Coach Toni Miniciello, Club Chesterfield AC/Sheffield University)

Markhim Lonsdale – Middle/Long Distance  (800m)

(Coach Keith Lonsdale, Crook AC)

Tom Gale –  Jumps (High Jump)

(Coach Denis Doyle, Club City of Bath AC)

Taylor Campbell– Throws (Hammer)

(Coach John Pearson/Tore Gufstafsson, City of Sheffield AC)

Niamh Emerson – Combined Events (Heptathlon)

(Coach David Feeney, Club: Amber Valley/Loughborough University)

Martina Barber – Para Athletics (F20 Long Jump)

(Coach Paddy O’Shea, Club: Stevenage and North Herts AC)

The RPMF specifically wishes to thank Lady Victoria Leatham and the Drapers Company for its generous support of the initial project and the establishment of the Jean Pickering Fund without which this would not have been possible.

It is hoped that further donors, benefactors and corporates might wish to support future Scholarship schemes and the RPMF as a whole with help sponsoring more athletes on their journey in the name of Jean Pickering.  Please contact  in the first instance or go to

“Thank You so much to Jean and the RPMF,

you helped me achieve my dream”.

Robbie Grabarz

Great 12 Olympic Fund beneficiary and Olympic Bronze medallist