Three cheers for girls’ man Richie

Scarborough University Campus.Picture Richard Ponter 140510f
Scarborough University Campus.Picture Richard Ponter 140510f

Onlookers may be forgiven for thinking that one member of a cheerleading troupe looks particularly masculine - because he is after all a man.

Richie Berry, 30, originally got involved with the troupe, all students at the University of Hull’s Scarborough campus, to help them train. But he enjoyed it so much that he became a fully-fledged member.

Richie Berry

Richie Berry

“I get mocked by the rugby lads,” said the third year educational studies student.

“But I would say cheerleading requires at least the same level of fitness as rugby. And you are rehearsing moves just like in rugby.”

Having Richie around enables the troupe to do stunts and routines which involve girls being lifted up.

The troupe’s first performance was in front of the mayor and mayoress of Scarborough at the opening of the university’s new 3G pitch earlier this month, and they are now looking for more appointments to show off their skills.

Richie, originally from Pontefract, is a qualified personal trainer who, as well as studying, also works at Scarborough’s Sunset Gym, on Belle Vue Street.

He added: “You have to do things to challenge yourself. Stepping outside your comfort zone is a good thing no matter what others say.

“Besides, how can anyone not like hanging around with 20-odd good-looking and intelligent girls?”

• Cheerleading was an exclusive male activity when it was invented at American universities in the late 19th century. It wasn’t until the 1940s that women became the majority of cheerleaders because male students left the country to fight in World War II.