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Tennager Brooke Thomas is not returning to Wellsway School in Keynsham after her GCSEs – she’s off to the US on a basketball scholarship. 

Brooke, 16, from Saltford, will attend The Academy of Central Florida in Orlando.

“I am so lucky to have this opportunity,” she said. “I am obviously nervous, but I am very excited as well.”

Brooke will live at a team house at the international sports  academy but has a support network of family and friends nearby to visit at weekends and holidays. 

It was on a visit to the States when she was about eight years old that Brooke went to an Orlando Magics game and fell in love with the sport. She joined Bristol Flyers just as the club was starting its girls’ programme and progressed through its teams. She trains with the Flyers twice a week and works with their coaches, as well as practising at the Wellsway School hoops. 

Brooke has managed to continue the basketball while studying for her exams thanks to the support of her parents, Mark and Rebecca, and  friends, as well as the club and the school.

She hopes her success will inspire younger girls to pursue their sporting dreams and work hard to develop their skills. 

Her mum Rebecca said, “We are so proud of Brooke and glad that her talent has been recognised. We will miss her but we know she will make the most of this amazing chance.”