There’s a single word used to describe the dedicated and hardworking gymnastics volunteers up and down the nation – ‘priceless’ – because that’s exactly what they are. And in truth, clubs large and small just couldn’t manage without them. They are, of course, ‘unsung heroes’ for their amazing contribution to the grassroots of the sport in their local communities.
Similar to our own Gymnastics Club Administrator of the Year Award, British Gymnastics have been great supporters in recognising the input and sheer inspirational qualities of those willing to give up their free time to help others. And it’s the very reason special awards were once more handed out at a wonderful event in the West Midlands recently.
Birmingham Town Hall was the venue for the British Gymnastics National Awards where 11 role models were short-listed and invited to enjoy an evening of friendship, appreciation and thanks for making such a difference to the sport.
Joanne Conroy from Warrington Gymnastics Club was one of those selected following her fund-raising efforts, work with its leadership academy and organisation of events. Joanne has been offering vital assistance for four years and was taken aback by the interest in her work: “I felt very overwhelmed! From my point of view, I don’t feel that I make that much of a difference, but it seems like I do and when I was told by Mandy, our Operations Manager that she had nominated me, I was speechless.
“It was really interesting speaking to the other volunteers from the other clubs on the night, finding out what they’re doing, what they’ve achieved, what challenges they’ve faced and how they’ve overcome them, and it gave me lots of ideas to take away to my club.”
It’s important to mention Joanne is hoping to expand the club’s Leadership Academy, a national programme designed to create a structure to help young people develop as leaders within a gymnastics environment.
life can be fraught with complications in many different areas, meaning potential
star gymnasts may not always get the chance to shine their light. Unfortunately,
this can often be down to financial reasons, making it all the more frustrating
for the individuals involved.
there is an invaluable body called the GLL Sport
Foundation, committed to supporting athletes across the UK to develop their
potential and achieve sporting success. By offering financial support to
gymnasts across the UK, they can help ensure no-one is left behind due to financial
blockers. Created in 2008, the GLL Sport
Foundation is the largest independent athlete support programme. It’s operated
by Charitable Social Enterprise GLL and supports athletes in 75 regions across
England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
fact, we have a great deal to be thankful to them for in terms of nurturing talent. In their first decade, the
foundation has contributed to the success of 33 Olympic and Paralympic medals.
From councils to fellow foundations, their list of partners is extremely
impressive. What’s better, anyone is welcome to apply.
foundation discovered the annual cost of attaining high national sport rankings averaged £6,000. Talent was being lost due to financial hardship
with an associated negative impact on local young people, communities and
sports clubs. They were determined to overcome this problem.
Louise Wright is a perfect example of just what can be achieved by our
gymnastics clubs given space and time. Recently recognised in the Queens New Year’s
Honours List and awarded a British Empire Medal, she’s now been nominated for
an Education Award through British Gymnastics for her work in helping develop
preschool gymnastics education.
more than 30 years of coaching this highly regarded figure in the sport has
helped many dreams come true and offered lots of young people the chance to
become fit, healthy and have fun along the way. In fact, she runs the Tooting
Gymnastics Club in South London which is now so popular with parents and
youngsters alike its waiting list is seemingly endless!
sport’s governing body were keen to celebrate her achievements, and at the same
time demonstrate they are there for all aspiring clubs.
“What I enjoyed most about the National Awards was the recognition from British Gymnastics in being nominated,” said Mary. “They have done a great job in communicating the National Awards to the gymnastics community and it has hopefully increased the profile of preschool gymnastics and what it’s about.”
Preschool gymnastics is a vital tool in getting young people involved in the sport at a very early age. It can open doors to a happy and healthy childhood and may even pave the way to future glory.
More importantly, it’s about being part of something special – just like the club at Tooting.
A Tooting Success
marks 30 years of success in April, but it’s not just about finding potential
medal winners. The ethos of the club centres around teaching gymnastics to the
highest standards and enabling youngsters to make new friends and encourage
social interaction in a child friendly and safe environment. After all, when
done correctly, gymnastics can be a character forming and recreational sport.
and her hard-working team have continued to offer gymnastics sessions for more
than 500 boys and girls. All of their coaches hold British Gymnastics
qualifications, are DBS checked and have Safeguarding qualifications. This
popular head coach has also ensured her charismatic club adheres to the
principles of equality of opportunity, with equal access to all the facilities
for everyone. She is in every sense a role model for how a gymnastics club
should be run.
Mary added: “30 years is a long time, yet it sometimes doesn’t feel that long ago. I feel immensely proud of the club and what we have achieved over the years. It’s not just been me, but many, many people have been involved and there are some who are still involved with the club who have shared the journey with me. I didn’t set out to start a club, it has just grown organically, and I am forever grateful to all those that have been involved and those who will continue to be involved.”
The Queens Honour
The Empire Medal will be presented for her services to gymnastics and engaging children from her local community into the sport. In essence, this is what club gymnastics is all about. This is why clubs are always on the lookout for volunteers and staff who are passionate about helping their local community.
Mary explained: “I was surprised and a bit shocked! I really didn’t know anything about it until a letter arrived a few weeks before Christmas. When I then heard how the nomination had come about and all the people who were involved it was very emotional and obviously a huge honour. To have been nominated in the first place was amazing, but to have been given the BEM was something else! I am very aware that there are so many other people out there doing the same as me and more, so it’s been very humbling, and I am very grateful.”
It should also be pointed out Mary was joined in the New Year’s Honours list by John Wills, the founder of Banchory Trampoline and Double-Mini Trampoline Club in Aberdeenshire.
Back in 2018, two of his members were chosen to represent Great Britain in Double-Mini Trampoline. John, who also gets a BEM, is the Trampoline Judging Convenor on the Scottish Gymnastics Technical Panel.
Both Mary and John will receive their medals later this year, no doubt in their own likeably modest fashion leaving inspiration behind them for others to follow.
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Smith MBE is well versed in taking to the stage at the highest level. So
swapping one for another actually seems to be a logical switch. His recently
announced retirement from gymnastics isn’t a case of ‘Rip it Up’, though that’s
the musical he’s now co-starring in. So, it’s actually a case of from the high
end to the west end for this pommel expert now set to enter the world of
is a four-time Olympic medallist, carrying history on his shoulders having won
Britain’s first medal on the pommel horse in 100 years in Beijing 2008. It was
probably the most valuable Olympic bronze ever. It didn’t stop there of course,
as he went on to win an individual silver and a team bronze at the London 2012
yet another games arrived in Rio, Louis rose to the occasion with another
silver on the pommel. By then he’d forged a reputation as one of the finest
ever pommel horse workers. As a result, his achievements created a massive
impact on the development of men’s gymnastics across the UK. A huge inspiration
to the next generation of athletes, this Peterborough born artistic gymnast
leaves a fantastic legacy.
gymnastics experience is a unique nationwide gymnastics course for both girls
and boys aged five to 12 years of age. It’s been custom designed to deliver all
appropriate gymnastics disciplines for those just starting out, or for
individuals who want to develop existing skills further. Those on the course
are very likely to get a visit from the man himself.
Speaking after he’d announced his retirement on ‘Lorraine’, Louis said: “Gymnastics has given me everything. It gave me the tools necessary to channel my ADHD throughout my childhood, and as I grew up through the sport, I quickly found a purpose in life, and it has made me the person I am today.
“From a young age it became my dream to compete at an Olympic Games and represent Great Britain, so to have had the opportunity to do that on three separate occasions, and bring home four Olympic medals in the process, is something I will forever cherish and for which I am eternally grateful.”
Sport to Show-Business
who also won three World Championship medals, was the winner of the BBC’s
Strictly Come Dancing programme in 2012 alongside partner Flavia Cacace.
There’s little doubt this is where the show-business bug really took shape,
though he’d had previous ambitions as a singer auditioning for the X Factor in
went on to take part in the 2014 Strictly Christmas special with guest
professional, Aliona Vilani. He also performed in a live dance show called ‘Rip
It Up’, starring McFly’s drummer Harry Jud, and JLS’ Aston Merrygold. If that
wasn’t enough to impress, how about appearing on The Jump, only losing out to
Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews in the final? Not bad for a lad who was
diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), at the age of
clear from this the 29-year-old has a range of talents at his disposal, meaning
the future looks very bright indeed away from the sport of gymnastics.
“I first met Louis when he was around seven years old. His mum couldn’t decide whether to send him on a choral scholarship or to go with gymnastics.” said British Gymnastics Men’s Head National Coach and Louis’ former personal coach, Paul Hall. “Seven years later, Peterborough Cathedral may have missed a boy soprano, but GB had a Junior European Champion on Pommel Horse.”
for services to gymnastics he was made a Member of the Order of the British
Empire in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list. His legacy is a reminder of just
what can be achieved both in and through this wonderful sport. And the message
from Louis is anyone from any background can succeed given the will and
Speaking further about Louis, Paul Hall said, “his contribution deserves to be recognized. Four Commonwealth medals, seven European medals, five world medals, four Olympic medals, and one Glitterball. Great job Louis!”
The Stage Is Set
Despite Louis Smith swapping one stage for another, it certainly seems that he has a lot to offer. We can’t wait to see what he does next.
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Typically, Gymnastics Club Manager helps its clients reduce their time spent on admin by 80% whilst improving cash flow.
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It’s one of the highlights of the busy gymnastics calendar and the culmination of years of dedication for many of those involved. The British Gymnastics National Awards 2019 will be recognising all that’s great and good in the sport. And it’s of course fitting, the governing body helps pay tribute to all the wonderful people and clubs up and down the UK.
Birmingham Town Hall will provide the backdrop for what looks to be another enthralling and sociable evening bringing some very special individuals together on January 29th.
It’s a fact there are some incredibly inspirational human beings within the gymnastics family, and everyone from the athletes themselves to coaches, admin staff to volunteers, parents to organisers, have a valuable role to play. Both recognising and celebrating their achievements is always a joy to behold. Anyone nominated can feel justifiably proud their efforts have been taken into consideration, and of course, making the shortlist is a huge compliment in itself.
With all this in mind, the nominations have been officially announced, and it makes for fascinating reading. Let’s take a closer look at the lineups!
The National Club Award
This award officially recognises a club affiliated to British Gymnastics, providing a first class quality experience for all their members. It’s also a reminder of how important the feel, welcome and professionalism of a club can be.
Three clubs have been shortlisted this time, and they include AAA Sports of Sunderland, DC Gymnastics in Berwick Upon Tweed and The Pegasus Gymnastics Club based in Maidstone. Each is a club of outstanding quality with an a superb reputation and example for others to follow.
The National Volunteer Award
We’ve touched on the contribution of volunteers in the past, and this particular award recognises a volunteer over the age of 18 whose contribution to gymnastics has been invaluable. It also takes into account just how vital their work has been behind the scenes. Michael Gevaux, Sandra Crowe and Su Kileen are shortlisted on this occasion, shining lights within the gymnastics community.
The National Young Volunteer
It’s not always easy to give up your free time when there are so many things going on in our younger years. So this special award is aimed at those who provide enthusiasm in helping others enjoy the sport. Step forward Alice Elizabeth Corden, Amber Turner and Bradley Welsh. Every one a background star.
The Equality And Inclusion Award
Both diversity and equality are significant in gymnastics. As a result, the governing body has created this prestigious award for those who demonstrate these values through the delivery of a quality inclusive gymnastics programme.
It was no easy task finding the final three, but the judges arrived at Kelly Morrow from Club Gymfun and both Woking and Nuneaton Gymnastics Clubs.
The Education Award
The vital delivery of coach education is always looked upon as one of the key areas of the sport. In fact, it plays a crucial role. This is an award for people who bring excellence to the table in their own delivery.
Gary Kirby, the Pre-school Panel and Paddy (Alan) Lavelle have been shortlisted for the 2019 title.
The National Safeguarding Award
It’s already clear there are so many valuable roles within gymnastics. So many parts we can all play. And in this fast moving age, none are more important than keeping children both safe and protected. This is is why it’s totally necessary to recognise an individual who has delivered a committed and enthusiastic service to the welfare and safeguarding of the young ones.
Christine Cason, Jenni Harris and Mike Gevaux all fall into this category. Their work means parents especially can relax, safe in the knowledge their young ones will always be in a safe environment.
We mustn’t forget the athletes themselves of course and there are several other awards paying tribute to a number of outstanding individuals. These include the Award of Merit, Nik Stuart Honorary Life Member, the Frank Edmonds Trophy and the Alex Strachan Trophy. Look out too for the Outstanding Coach of the Year and an award for the most outstanding athlete. There will also be inductions into the British Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Whatever happens, people will leave the event knowing their sport is in a wonderful place, and hopefully, it will inspire everyone for the next year and long beyond.
Short-listed Nominees: National Club Award – AAAsports, DC Gymnastics and Pegasus Gymnastics Club
National Volunteer Award – Michael Gevaux, Sandra Crowe and Su Kileen
National Young Volunteer Award – Alice Elizabeth Corden, Amber Turner and Bradley Welsh
Equality and Inclusion Award – Kelly Morrow (ClubFUN), Nuneaton Gymnastics Club and Woking Gymnastics Club
Education Award – Gary Kirby, Paddy (Alan) Lavelle and the pre-school panel
National Safeguarding Award – Christine Cason, Jenni Harris and Mike Gevaux
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beautiful city of St. Petersburg proved to be the perfect inspiration for those
athletes charged with representing Britain at the 2018 Trampoline, Tumbling and
DMT World Age Group Championships. What’s more, it resulted in a magnificent
haul of ten priceless medals, enough to show the world just how good our
gymnasts can be. What made it even better was the fact the medals were won in
all three disciplines across the age groups, though it’s true to say it was in
tumbling the team really impressed. It also demonstrated the tremendous
strength in depth we have within this area of the sport.
17 to 21
delightful Megan Surman from the City of Birmingham club certainly made the judges
happy scoring 33.900 in her tumbling final. It was enough to secure a valuable
gold, though praise must also go to silver medal winner and team-mate Aimee Antonius who finished just
behind her with marks of 33.800. The Black Country was also celebrating as
Jaydon Paddock stormed to victory in the men’s event amassing a total of
Gymnastics Club Manager created The Gymnastics Club Administrator of the Year Award to recognise the unsung efforts of all the gymnastics club administrators who go, for the most part, without thanks.
The work they do both in front and behind the scenes of their clubs is crucial, so we wanted to recognise their efforts and put them in the spotlight for once.
Having read through all the submissions, the whole team at Gymnastics Club Manager have been blown away by the number of truly incredible and dedicated people working at the clubs throughout the country. Everyone who was nominated should be hugely proud of themselves.
That being said, we had to select a winner. So, congratulations to Kelly Wilson of Athena Sports Academy.
Kelly was nominated by Shaun Carruthers. We think her story is incredible and one certainly worthy of The Gymnastics Club Administrator of the Year Award:
“Kelly was simply ‘a parent’ just two years ago, attending the club with her two children in our Disability classes – shy and lacking any confidence to interact with other parents or staff. Kelly has never had an easy route in life but doesn’t take any time to complain about the misfortunes she has faced.
“With some persuasion, Kelly agreed to volunteer her time at one of our events. Since then, we have seen Kelly absolutely transform into a professional, approachable and organised individual who is now incredibly confident in herself and her ability – made even more so with the introduction of Gymnastics Club Manager.
“Kelly has embraced the system and is now our ‘super user’, spending her days on (and off!) ensuring that it’s accurate and up-to-date. She now volunteers 5 days a week, for hours at a time making sure our customers are looked after and it’s incredible to see her previously shy character develop into such a well-rounded individual.
“Kelly, we really couldn’t do it without you and we really hope this nomination shows our appreciation.”
An honourable mention also goes to Mandie Adams of Forest of Dean Gymnastics Club who narrowly missed out – another exceptional administrator with a wonderful story which we will be sharing in the coming weeks.
We didn’t want Mandie’s efforts to go unrecognised either so we will be giving her a runner-up prize of a £200 Amazon voucher.
Keep an eye on our social media in the coming weeks as we will be sharing the stories of all ten finalists. We think the work they do is incredible and we think the wider gymnastics community deserves to know about it.
On behalf of everyone at Gymnastics Club Manager, thank you for everyone who sent in a nomination. But, more importantly, thank you to everyone who was nominated for doing such an incredible job at your clubs – the gymnastics community is a better place thanks to your work.
It’s always great for the sport when a gymnast is rewarded for their professionalism, dedication and unselfish service to others. So, it’s fitting that two-time Olympic gymnast and multiple major championship medallist, Kristian Thomas, has been elected onto the BOA’s Athletes’ Commission.
This is, of course, an advisory group set up to ensure the athletes’ viewpoint and interests are at the heart of everything the BOA does. The Commission has 12 members, made up of a mixture of retired and current athletes from summer and winter sports.
It was founded in 2004 to represent the interests of athletes in Great Britain to major decision-makers in the sport. The brief also included assisting athletes in member sports to both setup and maintain athlete representative structures. It’s also specified that all candidates must have competed for Team GB at an Olympic Games or Olympic Winter Games within the past 12 years, and no earlier than Turin 2006.
A Sporting Honour
It’s a great honour for the 29-year-old former artistic gymnast from Wolverhampton to be chosen as one of five new members serving a four-year term from 2019 to 2022. It means Kristian will be at the heart of the decision-making process for Team GB so he can have a key part to play on how the sport continues to develop long into the future. No doubt his experience will be called upon frequently having performed at the highest level for a number of years.
He was, in fact, the first male gymnast ever to win a medal in ‘vault’, landing a bronze in the 2013 World Championships. Two years later he won his first major international title, securing gold in the floor exercise at the 2015 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships. And we can’t forget his contribution as part of the British team that won gold in the 2012 European Championships team event, and a historic bronze in the same event at the 2012 London Olympics.
For those who know Kristian well it comes as no surprise to see him further an ambition not just to help up and coming athletes, but also those currently working hard with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon. It’s a huge responsibility, but this exceptional athlete will surely take it all in his stride.
It was only a matter of time before a major new showcase event revolutionised the sport of gymnastics. And now it’s here in the form of ‘The Superstars of Gymnastics’. March 23rd, 2019 will become a red-letter day when this unique promotion raises the profile of the sport to a whole new level in terms of spectators, fans of the sport and organisers.
As the years go by, the sport has gained unprecedented levels of coverage on television, offering the opportunity for youngsters to see first-hand what’s involved. We all know it’s a powerful medium, of course, but by adding some glitz and glamour it’s hoped that some depth and excitement will be brought to the overall presentation of gymnastics live on Sky Sports.
A Dramatic Venue
There can’t be any better venue for this than the magnificent O2 Arena on the banks of The Thames, London – which when filled to capacity offers the most spectacular backdrop. It’s certain to provide an electric atmosphere, and naturally, there are some mouth-watering names taking part.
Though the full list has yet to be confirmed, everyone involved will be at the top of their discipline. And who better to lead the line-up than the irrepressible Max Whitlock MBE (a regular user of Gymnastics Club Manager!), who became Britain’s first ever gold medallist in artistic gymnastics winning both the men’s floor and pommel horse exercises at the 2016 Summer Olympics? Max is a five-time Olympic medallist and a glowing ambassador for the sport.
“I’m very excited to be a part of the Superstars of Gymnastics,” said Whitlock. “It is very, very exciting and it’s going to bring something never seen before. It will be a very different event from any other gymnastics event out there, and it will give the gymnasts freedom to perform anything they want to wow the crowds.
“I have had a think about my routines, and I have a few ideas up my sleeve and look forward to bringing something that has never been done. I think it’s about getting something that is very different and unique”
Your chance to recognise the unsung superhero who keeps your Club running seamlessly. Nominate today to win a luxury weekend away for them with £500 spending money, £1,000 for your Club and a £100 voucher for the nominator.
Do you know someone who is an admin-star? Someone who works tirelessly, always with a smile on their face, to do the job no-one wants to do at your Club?
If so, Gymnastics Club Manager would love to hear from you because we think it’s time we recognised all those good folk who go the extra mile to keep the world of gymnastics ticking. We want to showcase the work of these amazing people and ensure they get the recognition they deserve. So we’ve created the first-ever Gymnastics Club Administrator of the Year Award.
How it Works
If you know an unsung admin-hero who deserves recognition, simply click the button below to nominate your Administrator of the Year.
You’ll need to write a brief summary of why you feel they are worthy of this award and provide a ‘supporter’ who is prepared to endorse the nomination and list their name and mobile phone number.
Nominations close on Friday the 7th of December. The Gymnastics Club Manager team will then select a shortlist of 10 nominees who will then be submitted to an independent panel, from which the winner will be selected. The judging process may include a phone or in-person interview for the leading contenders.
The winning Administrator will receive a luxury admin-free weekend for two at a hotel of their choice (up to the value of £500) and £500 spending money so they can put their feet up and enjoy a well-earned rest. Plus, their nominator will receive a £100 Amazon or M&S Voucher and the Club, £1,000!
So, what are you waiting for? Click the button below to nominate your Gymnastics Club Administrator of the Year today!