THE eagerness of a young girl who was just a little too small to take part in rowing has led her to success in a slightly different area of the sport.
At nine years old, Millie Benton was not tall enough to row with Trent Rowing Club, but a suggestion from head coach Derek Johnson led her to find a hitherto undiscovered talent in another area - coxing.
As soon as she got into position and out on the water it was clear she was a natural, and one year on, she is winning awards for all her achievements.
Her mum Emma said: “Millie will not be bullied by other boats and sticks to her course. She is quite demanding, in fact I would call her a bit of a diva in the boat, but she keeps the crew on side by feeding them sweets when rowing to the start.”
Millie’s talent became clear just six weeks after she learned to cox, when she supported the Women’s Junior 15 Coxed Quadruple Sculls at the British Rowing Junior Championships, where they raced against the best in the country.
Earlier this year, she won an East Staffordshire Borough Council Sports Scholarship Award for her achievements.
The job of a coxswain is to keep the crew safe, shout rowing commands and motivate the crew, as well as steering the boar safely.
In her role, she has the ability to win or lose a race and plays as vital a role as the people rowing.
Millie, who lives in Stretton and attends William Shrewsbury Primary School, spoke to the Mail.
She said: “I love coxing because it’s fun, it gives me the chance to be involved and I love winning.
“I’m not too keen on getting up 5.40am on Saturday and Sunday mornings though.”