Supported Athletes

Emma Haughian, Senior Marketing Manager at Hughes Insurance, said: “In partnering with the Mary Peters Trust, we have the ability to support young athletes from right across Northern Ireland. It means a lot to us as a community-focused organisation to help these talents get a little further in their journeys, particularly as we acknowledge how tough it must have been for them throughout the pandemic.”

The Mary Peters Trust is the only province-wide organisation to provide support to young athletes from all recognised sports. To keep up to date with those selected to receive a bursary, follow Hughes Insurance on social media @hughesinsuranceni or visit their website

Meet The Athletes

Olivia Canavan

Talented young footballer and Regent House pupil Olivia Canavan (16) has recently collected her first Mary Peters Trust funding award. Signed this season by Glentoran Ladies, the defender is now training with the senior squad as well as playing for their U17, U18 and U19 teams.

Nick Griggs 3

Nick Griggs

It all started with a ‘lightning bolt’ – but then slowed down to the 3000m middle distance event for Co Tyrone teenager and upcoming athletics star Nick Griggs. Nick was a sprinter at school and his inspiration, Jamaican runner Usain Bolt. “I first watched Usain competing at the London 2012 Olympics.

Sophie Thomas

A Level student Sophie Thomas has a lot to thank her mum for. Back in 2017 when Sophie was 12, her mum entered her in the ‘Ulster Junior Closed Tournament’ in squash at Belfast Boat Club and the rest as they say is history. “Until then I had played lots of other sports including tennis – but never squash.

Daniel and Nathan Wiffen

Identical twins Nathan and Daniel Wiffen certainly have each other’s backs when it comes to looking after each other, but whilst back stroke is Nathan’s preference, Daniel excels in freestyle. It was the 1500m freestyle event where he secured a silver medal in the Birmingham hosted 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Erin McConnell

To keep fit and help improve my swimming I was training and running regularly but also represented my school in cross-country and long-distance events. It was a natural lead-in to triathlon and I trained hard to develop my cycling skills and technique.

Sophie Earley

Fate is a strange thing. It was complete luck that Sophie Earley’s twin brothers Zak and Thomas took up table tennis at school as it didn’t run in the family. 

Conn Nagle

Third year accountancy student Conn Nagle is brimming over with enthusiasm and excitement as he looks forward to his first ever Commonwealth Games.

Paul McCreery

He may be only 30 but Saintfield man Paul McCreery is already a Commonwealth Games veteran.His first time at the Games was back in 2010 in Dehli, followed by Glasgow, then Gold Coast, Australia. With Birmingham 2022, Paul chalks up his fourth. 

Danielle Hill

At the age of only 22, Larne Swimming Club star Danielle Hill has already chalked up a vast amount of national and international competition experience.

Freddy Murray

Whilst tennis Irish Junior Freddy Murray, shares his surname with Scottish favourite Sir Andy, it’s Mallorca born Rafael Nadal whom he cites as his sporting icon.

Claire Taggart

Boccia is a precision ball sport related to bowls and petanque and requires a forensic approach if a player wants to win. And that’s exactly the attitude Mary Peters Trust athlete Claire Taggart has. 

Rachael Woods

Rachael Woods first picked up a racquet aged five and she has a vivid memory of her mum throwing plastic shuttlecocks which she then hit back, building up her badminton skillset at an early age.

Rebecca Woods

Rebecca and Rachael have been playing badminton since early childhood and it’s an integral part of family life.

Beth Taylor

Queen’s University civil engineering student Beth Taylor officially started fencing during her first year at Lisburn’s Hunterhouse College, but it was friendly rivalry, a few years prior with older brother Daniel that first sparked her love of this highly skilled combat sport.

Ellie McKibbin

It’s been a rollercoaster five years for A Level student Ellie McKibbin who hails from Bangor. A competitive swimmer she experienced a life changing injury in 2017, followed by the global pandemic both impacting hugely on her training and recovery.

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