Coach pledge keeps Junior dancing
Junior Frood jumping for joy
A schoolboy dubbed the real-life Billy Elliot is jumping for joy as National Express is promising to keep the wheels turning on his budding dance career.
The UK’s largest coach operator has pledged to provide 12-year-old street dancing sensation Junior Frood, from Meanwood Leeds, with free travel so like Billy who famously took the national express coach to London in the blockbuster 2000 film - he can go to London to pursue his dancing dream.
Junior, whose achievements include: being UK Freestyle Dance Champion, performing with Justin Bieber and last week being appointed one of the official cheerleaders for Leeds Rhinos rugby team, was recently awarded a full lifetime scholarship at the famous Pineapple Performing Arts School in London, after being spotted by Head of Dance Maggie Pattison.
However Junior’s mum Kerry, who works as a nurse in St James’ Hospital in the city centre and is bringing up Junior and his eight-year-old brother Jake on her own, couldn’t afford the train fare for the three of them to go to London every Sunday.
Eager for her son to benefit from the amazing opportunity, Kerry wrote to National Express to ask for their help. The staff were really taken by Junior’s story and were delighted to be able to assist the rising star.
National Express is now pledging to provide a free coach travel to Junior while he is training at Pineapple, so his mum and younger brother can get to London.
The move by the coach operator is part of its ground-breaking Youth Promise partnership, which is a pledge by National Express to support young people get on in life and work by working with charities such as Whizz-Kidz on a range of youth-focused projects.
Junior will become a National Express Youth Promise Ambassador – leading the way for young people all over the UK.
Junior, a student at Leeds West Academy, was absolutely thrilled when he heard National Express would be helping them out. Kerry said he had tears in his eyes when he heard the news.
She said: “We are all just so grateful to National Express for being so generous and helping Junior to try and achieve his dreams. This training could potentially change his life forever and start him off on the professional dance career that he so desperately wants. I am a single mother and work hard to provide for my children working full-time as a nurse but my wage just doesn't stretch to pay for the full train fare to London each week.”
National Express Coach Managing Director Chris Hardy said: “Junior is an outstanding talent with a very bright future ahead of him, he is also a shining example to young people that you can make it if you try. We are passionate about bringing forward youth talent through our Youth Promise pledge and we are delighted to provide Junior, his mum and brother with free travel and wish him every success in his career.”
Kerry explained Junior began dancing at the age of three by watching artists on YouTube and MTV and copying them.
Despite being only 12-years-old, Junior has many fantastic achievements under his belt already. He performed as Justin Bieber’s backing dancer on his 'Purpose' World Tour and supported the X Factor’s Sam Bailey on her UK Tour.
He also recently premiered in a music video for Izo FitzRoy’s new single and has performed at the London Wembley Arena, the Royal Albert Hall, the Glasgow SECC Arena, the London Excel Arena and London Olympia.
He is booked to perform at several children's celebrity festivals across the country in the summer this year including for CBBC and CBeebies while in the future he aspires to be a professional choreographer.