BASKETBALL prodigy George Payne is receiving help from a group of Weymouth organisations in a bid to help realise his dream of playing for Great Britain.

Payne, 13, has been given monetary assistance from Dorset Basketball Association, Weymouth Round Table, Weymouth Rotary Club and Weymouth Lions Club to fund his progression.

Each year, Dorset’s most promising junior players are invited to attend trials for the South West with the hopes of representing their region in the Basketball England Aspire Programme.

Wyke resident Payne then took it a step further, making it to the Super Aspire pathway.

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Payne is now heading to Birmingham in trials with the country’s top talents and many that feature in high-profile basketball programmes across the Midlands.

Payne is one of the gifted few to make it through the trials, continuing the tradition of Weymouth players that have continued to reach the heights above the county level.

Payne’s determination, with the dedication of his family, leads him to Somerset twice weekly where he plays for Taunton Tigers in the junior national league at both under-14 and under-16 level.

With basketball in full gear for Payne, Dorset chair Alex Fuhrmann was amazed to find the teenage sensation amongst elite company.

Fuhrmann said: “When I heard that George had made the super region, I honestly had a double take.

“Basketball England are ramping up their junior talent pathway and I knew travelling to the Midlands as well as his weekly dedication to Taunton was a tall order.

“It was then that I thought of our wonderful community organisations that are always seeking to support young people.

“I didn’t really have to do much selling to the charities or the Dorset Association committee.

“Once I described the level at which George, and his parents, had dedicated themselves to basketball, it was a resounding agreement.”

He added: “As part of George’s development, it is essential that he compete and make relationships across the country, with a focus of working towards the GB squad.

“We’ve decided to allocate funding towards him attending the prestigious Red Star Basketball Camp.

“It will give George a grounded perspective on the level he is on and what will be required in his development, a week-long residential camp putting all ages and higher abilities through their paces.”

Payne still finds time to enjoy basketball with his friends at Weymouth Basketball Club, though recently has begun to test his abilities in the men’s training session.

He said: “It was odd when I went to the men’s training as they seemed slower than I expected.

“However, once I started playing, I really noticed the strength and gamesmanship that I need to work on.

“I’m just so thankful to the four groups that have come together in assisting me to reach my goal.

“I realise the responsibility on me to work hard and will ensure I continue to listen to my coaches and develop to the best of my abilities.”