Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 5°C

Search

Video/Gallery: Gymnasts from mid Suffolk celebrate club’s 40th anniversary

09:00 20 July 2014

Mid Suffolk Gymnastics Club celebrates its 40th anniversary at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket.

Mid Suffolk Gymnastics Club celebrates its 40th anniversary at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket.

Archant

A very special gym club is celebrating its 40th anniversary and already there are big dreams for the future.

The club wants to move to new premises and is seeking hundreds of thousands of pounds in funds to make it possible.

For most of its life it has been based at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, in Stowmarket, but around an hour of each session is spent setting up and tidying away the cumbersome equipment.

Head coaches Brett Rookyard, 39, and Chris Berry, 58, already have the support of Suffolk County Council for the new centre.

“We cannot get any more in, we physically have not got the room to take more numbers,” Mrs Berry said.

Mid Suffolk Gymnastics Club celebrates its 40th anniversary at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket.Mid Suffolk Gymnastics Club celebrates its 40th anniversary at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket.

“We are looking into funding; it would need hundreds of thousands and we are only in the early stages but we have the support of BG, British Gymnastics and Suffolk County Council are behind us. We will be looking at Sport England as well.

“We are having to turn people away and we would love to train a lot more.

“We do the least amount of training in the county but the girls do really well. We have had some really good results bringing home medals.”

The duo have set a target of raising the required sums for the new facility within the next five years. Currently the club only caters for girls, but with the London 2012 Olympics still having an effect, an improved headquarters is needed.

“More and more children want to do it because of the Olympics – it has done wonders for gymnastics,” Mr Rookyard said.

“Until quite recently it has been quite an invisible sport and usually Team GB does not do very well but the last Olympics was different. We would like to offer more variety, it would be nice to offer something for boys even at a small level.”

A man who has seen the club change over the years is one of its founding members, Colin Barnard. The 84-year-old, from Stowmarket, retired a few years ago to concentrate on other activities.

“I still get involved because I enjoy it,” he said.

“I thought I had had enough when I retired 10 years ago but I missed it so much; I have been back for about three years now,” he said.

“It’s a way of life for me, coaching gymnastics.”

Back in 1974, Colin along with his wife, Tessa and other volunteers, set up the club. For 25 years he was head coach and still has an active interest in several other sports.

“As long as I can stay fit I will continue”, he added.

“It’s just pleasing when you see the mums who now have their daughters coming through at the club and they say ‘are you still here?’. It’s wonderful really to see the progression.”

Despite his vast experience Colin is unable to directly teach the children because of gymnastics coaching rules which are updated annually. Instead he can advise them and the coaches leading the sessions.

Tracey Smith started out with the club as a young gymnast in 1974 but now after 40 years with the club the 50-year-old is one of the girls’ coaches.

She said: “We used to work out of what is now the gym facility at the centre. There was lots of fundraising to raise money for the equipment. I think the biggest thing about the club is that it is sport for all – the coaches give up their time voluntarily – it’s affordable for all. There are many clubs around which are inclusive and expensive.

“When I stopped as a gymnast I thought I had enjoyed my time and wanted to give something back and so I would coach.”

The club, which has around 40 girls on its books, puts on sessions three times a week at the centre on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Mrs Smith added: “We have a fantastic core of parents many of whom go on to become coaches. The team behind the scenes, the committee, help to keep the club running.”

Mrs Berry and Mr Rookyard also wished to thank all members, parents and supporters, past and present, for their help over the years. A big birthday party is planned for September with the call going out for all current and former members to come along.

Anselm Gurney, contract manager at the leisure centre, said: “I am very pleased that Mid Suffolk Gymnastics Club is celebrating its 40 year anniversary. As far as I am aware the club has been operating at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre ever since the facility first opened. The club has continued to develop and expand over the years and in that time must have helped literally thousands of children to take part in gymnastics.”

• Anyone who wants to find out more about the celebrations should contact midsuffolkgymclub@hotmail.co.uk
• To go to the club’s website visit www.midsuffolkgymnasticsclub.co.uk


0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

She’s strutted her stuff across the world’s stages as the Queen of Country and now Dolly Parton has inspired an Ipswich school more than 3,000 miles from her home in Tennessee to carry on her work giving free books to youngsters.

A driver who saw his family have a near miss with a car travelling the wrong way down the A14 says it was the ‘single worst moment’ of his life.

An 82-year-old motorist has been charged with drink-driving and failing to stop after a pedestrian was left with serious injuries.

A five-figure reward has been offered for information which helps to find missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague.

Father Christmas and his friends from the Ipswich Round Table are preparing for the 2016 Rudolph Run but what route will they take this year and when will they visit your street?

A businessman has been spared prison after admitting filming up women’s skirts in supermarkets and making indecent images of children.

Seven “very serious” medical errors were made at Suffolk and Essex health trusts within six months this year, sparking calls for action by a watchdog.

A drink-driver was found in a hedge by a police dog after abandoning his company car following a collision with a house, a court heard.

Ipswich park and ride is set to be saved in its present form after months of debate – but users are facing a 20% hike in fares.

Through trains from Ipswich and Norwich to Oxford and possibly Swindon or even Bristol could be running within 15 years under a new rail model being flagged up by the government today.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24