A GROUP of cheerleaders from Salisbury are celebrating after winning gold with Team England.

Sophie Woodroffe, 16, Poppy McNeil, 17, sisters Immy and Tara Bray, 14, and Jess Scott, 15, competed in the junior team at the International Cheerleading Union World Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Florida last month.

The competition saw the teenagers, who train at the Phoenix Star’s gym in the Centurion Centre, Old Sarum, joined cheerleaders from all over the world.

The England team beat off competition from Japan and Austria who took silver and bronze.

Sophie said: “It just hasn’t sunk in yet. It doesn’t feel real.”

Jess added: “We’re still so shocked we actually won.”

Immy, who picked up silver with Team England last year, said: “Winning world’s is everything we ever wanted.”

The girls were successful in winning a place on the team after submitting a video and being invited to attend a skills day and try outs in London, which started their journey to the championships.

They said they enjoyed having the experience of representing their country and meeting different people and going to the training sessions.

Jess added: “It was also good to meet people from other programmes.”

Sophie said: “I don’t think you can say how amazing it is until you’ve experienced it. It is something that is once in a lifetime when you walk out on to the mat with 24 other girls and the atmosphere, the crowds are chanting England, it is so surreal. You’ve got to sit back and be like they’re cheering for me.”

The girls said the gold medal win showed that “all the hard work is worth it” and hope it will inspire younger members of Phoenix Stars.

To remember their championship success the five of them were presented with gold medals as well as special rings.

They said: “We just want to thank everyone that has helped us get here and has supported us.”

The teenagers had to fundraise themselves to cover the costs of competing in the championships.

Team manager for Phoenix Stars, Jane Usher said: “This is another monumental stage for us to have these kids do this.”

  • Phoenix Stars are currently fundraising to compete in the World Championships in Florida next year. Go to phoenixstarscheerleading.co.uk for more.