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Franks Portlock pulls teen climber towards Olympic ambitions

Environmental consultancy Franks Portlock is providing a helping hand to talented young climber Will Duncan – competing to reach new heights nationally.

Thirteen-year-old Will, who began climbing as a hobby six years ago, is now one of the country’s top young athletes and was recently selected to be part of the GB Climbing England Regional Squad.Having achieved continued success at regional-level competitions in the North East, trials then followed with GB Climbing, first in London, and then in Sheffield, leading to Will officially becoming part of the England Regional Squad. Most recently, his skills moved up another notch when he landed third-place podium positions at the All Nations Scottish Bouldering Championships, and the All Nations Irish Lead Championships.

Climber Will Duncan with Carmel Hodgson, Human Resources Manager at Franks Portlock, at Sunderland Wall, Pallion Quay.

Like all athletes, Will needs to maintain a high level of skill and success, accessing high-quality coaching, and raising funds which will allow him to climb at national competitions. That’s where one of the North East’s leading environmental management consultancies has stepped in to support the teen’s ambitions with sponsorship.

Since launching Franks Portlock in 2006, Phil Franks, alongside Stephen Portlock, say the company continually looks at ways to sponsor young people to achieve their goals and ambitions, as well as supporting projects that make a difference to local communities, through its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

Phil says: “We’ve been incredibly impressed with Will’s commitment to climbing and determination to succeed. It’s fantastic news, and of course no surprise, that he has now landed a place in the GB England Regional Squad. 

Will Duncan at Sunderland Wall, Pallion Quay.

“We hope supporting him with this sponsorship in the early stages of his journey will help towards achieving his goals, and we wish him every success. We’d love to see him competing at the Olympics in the future, he’s certainly got the talent and drive to get there!”

Stephen adds: “As a company that is growing nationally, it’s incredibly important for us to give something back to the region where the first roots of our own journey were laid 18 years ago, with our head office firmly established in Sunderland. 

“Developing and nurturing the next generation of talent, whether that is through sponsorship or employment opportunities, is part of our journey and helps shape our values, and we will continue to play our part in supporting success.”

Will’s dad, Scott Duncan, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, said: “The sponsorship from Franks Portlock has helped massively towards the costs of the 2024 climbing competition season including the All Nations series in Ireland and Scotland.”

Will adds: “I’m really pleased to have been selected for the GB Climbing England Regional Squad and I’m really looking forward to competing this year and training with GB.”  

His future goals are also clear, as Will says: “I want to make it to the Olympics in the future, and sponsorship like this just helps me get closer to achieving my dream.”

Photo Credit: David James Wood