Artistic swimming star Ranjuo Tomblin hopes some royal words of wisdom on mental health can help him achieve his sporting dreams. 

Tomblin, who is Team GB’s first-ever male artistic swimmer heard from the The Prince and Princess of Wales at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre during a SportsAid workshop dedicated to educating young athletes on mental health and wellbeing.

The 18-year-old from Horsham 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.

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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.

“It was so nice to meet them, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “They explained how they deal with resilience; William was saying you’ve got to look at it like a maze – you find your way to the end and there’s always a solution to every problem.  

“It was nice to see it’s not just people in sport that are affected and deal with pressure like that. 

“I think mental health is a subject that isn’t always talked about especially in sports because it’s so results driven. 

“It’s really good to acknowledge and highlight that mental health is serious and something that needs to be thought about.  

“For me, it’s about having the support system there: my coach, my mum, my dad, my family. They’re so supportive and in the sport itself we have dietitians, psychologists to be there for us and it’s really important because then people don’t get left behind.”

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.

Tomblin was one of several young athletes in attendance who receive funding and support from SportsAid to pursue their sporting ambitions and the teenager hailed the invaluable extra help as he aims for the LA 2028 Games.

“SportsAid funding is so beneficial as I actually live away from where we train,” he said. “I train in Bristol but live in Horsham, about a three-hour drive, and I stay in hotels which is quite expensive. 

“It really helps and I really appreciate that.

“There is quite a lot of pressure [being GB’s first male artistic swimmer]. 

“I hope I am the start of many. There is only one other boy in the national team at the moment so I would like to see more boys come into the sport. It is definitely growing.  

“Los Angeles 2028 is what I am aiming for, that is the ultimate goal.”

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.