A team GB kayaker has spoken of her pride at being able to represent her country with the help of a Malvern tech firm.

Emma Witherford, 21, is a professional kayaker who has recently taken part in the ICF World Championships, where she finished 12th.

She was helped to buy her boat and arrange accommodation by Malvern tech firm Payara, based at the Malvern Science Park.

She said: “I first started kayaking when I was seven or eight years old at Worcester Kayaking Club.

"It was actually my sister's idea at first, so we decided to go along.

"As I got older, I wanted to get more adrenalin so decided to get involved in freestyle kayaking.

"My mum had tried kayaking at university too so she was more than willing to support us in taking it up."

Emma is a biology student at the University of Nottingham, training daily in freestyle kayaking, with one or two hours during competition season to give her more time to recover, and up to four hours in the winter when she is not competing and can devote more time to it.

“I wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of what I have without the help of Payara, they helped me buy my boat and set me up with proper accommodation.

“Those are the little 'one-percenters' that go a long way with being able to get rest and recovery.”

For the second year running, Payara has sponsored Emma, having previously provided funds to help her compete at the European Championships in 2018, where she achieved 7th place.

Emma hopes to achieve a top 20 position ahead of the next World Championships, which take place in 2021.

Jadon Ortlepp from Payara said: “It was perfect timing really, we were looking at ways to do more for the local community and Emma got in touch with us having been sponsored before by another firm.

“Our job is to make sure she can get the things she needs without much stress so she can focus more on her training without worrying about it.

“We are looking at other groups and individuals to sponsor in a similar way, not necessarily sportspeople but it could be community groups, clubs, anyone as long as they are local and focused on the community.”