Athletics star Fleur Todd-Warmoth received advice from royalty about how to maintain mental resilience. 

The 18-year-old from Putney was one of several young athletes who were joined by The Prince and Princess of Wales at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre for a SportsAid workshop dedicated to mental health and wellbeing.

Todd-Warmoth was amongst a host of young athletes who heard from a number of sporting stars, including four-time Olympic champion Sir Matthew Pinsent and five-time Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, about their experiences of managing anxiety, pressure and expectation.

For several years, SportsAid has been providing information and advice on mental health and wellbeing in partnership with BelievePerform. The athletes, as well as their parents and guardians, contributed to two themed sessions, followed by a couple of practical exercises, alongside The Prince and Princess.

“My group had a resilience session where we learnt techniques to deal with pressure,” she said. “And we got to talk to William and Kate and hear their views which was really interesting. 

“It’s weird how they also face the same problems although they’re not in sport but they link to our lives.  

“They spoke about how friendships in sport can make a big difference and it can take pressure off. “Athletics is a solo sport but you warm up, cool down and do sessions with friends and it makes it a lot more fun.  

“During covid when I was doing it all by myself it made me value how amazing my friends are in the sport and they really understand.”

The visit from The Prince and Princess comes after SportsAid revealed the findings of a new mental health and wellbeing survey, commissioned by the charity in September 2023, on World Mental Health Day.

The survey, run in partnership with BelievePerform and EVERFI, highlighted the anxiety felt by young athletes involved in performance sport, the different challenges facing female and para athletes, and the appetite for more support and advice.

Todd-Warmoth was one of several young athletes in attendance who receive funding and support from SportsAid to pursue their sporting ambitions. 

“SportsAid funding has been amazing,” she said. “I’ve been able to access a few psychology sessions which I’ve then been able to take into my training and races.  

“Even just coming to these events and meeting people who may not be in the same sport but have exactly the same issues and lifestyle is amazing. They’re all achieving so much.” 

The rising star used to play football and only started running during lockdown but has already clocked the fourth best time ever for the U17 3000m. 

“I’m really enjoying the process and where it’s taking me,” she said. “I think a lot of athletes are perfectionists which can become too much, and it can interfere with training and progression.  

“I’ve learnt to be patient and keep the long-term goal in sight. 

“Before athletics I played football for ISFA U16 (England Independent Schools), but moving to uni soon, I’ve got to focus one and it was obviously really hard making that decision.”

SportsAid supports over 1,000 young athletes a year through financial grants and personal development opportunities and Chief Executive Tim Lawler is excited about the charity’s future work on mental health.

He said: “The support of The Prince and Princess is really special and exciting. 

“The Princess, as our Patron, has been so supportive and we know this is a topic she is hugely passionate about.  

“Both The Prince and Princess have been invited to join us and committed their time as a Patron – they engaged and shared their experiences with the athletes, who were also able to hear from multiple Olympic and Paralympic champions about their own personal experiences. 

“We are now ramping up our work around mental health and wellbeing. This a key space we need to move into – it’s an unmet need and it’s understood by athletes. 

“This event today is not just a one-off – it was a hugely fun day but we want to do even more heading into next year to further enhance our support for our athletes around health and wellbeing.” 

SportsAid is seeking support from individuals and organisations to allow the charity to invest further in its mental health and wellbeing initiatives. Please contact Serena Castiglione, Head of Fundraising at SportsAid, on if you would like to help provide talented young athletes, as well as their families, with the support and advice they need at a key time in their development.