Sofia, So Good, for World Games Hopefuls. . .
UPDATED: May 29, 2013
By Simon Parkinson
OUR acro-gym aces Shanie-Redd Thorne and Danielle Jones can head into the World Games full of confidence thanks to another tremendous international performance.
The duo followed up their silver medal-winning success in Portugal in March by claiming a bronze medal in the second and final leg of a World Cup series event staged in Bulgariaâs capital city, Sofia.
They fended off strong representation from the United States, Belgium, Russia, Ukraine, France and Belarus to seize third spot in the senior womenâs pairs category, amply demonstrating why this King Edmund Gym Club partnership are one of Great Britainâs big hopes in the forthcoming and prestigious World Games, a major event held every four years for non-Olympic sports, scheduled to take place in Columbia at the end of July.
Their silver and bronze scores combined over the two World Cup tournaments earned Shanie-Redd and Danielle an overall second placement behind only their Belgian counterparts, prompting King Edmund head coach Nikki Thorne to say: âThe girls have shown that they are becoming a stronger and more confident pairing, and it will undoubtedly put them in good heart for what will be the biggest gymnastics event they will participate in when it comes to the World Games.â
The bronze award was not the only medal bagged by the Yate-based club in Sofia â Tyler Kelly and Robert Bates came second in the 12-18 junior pairsâ competition in only their second-ever international outing together, beaten to the top prize by the Kazakhstani team.
âThe competition gave Tyler and Rob some valuable experience,â Nikki stressed. âOver the past few months they have shown great potential and I have no doubts they have the capacity to kick on and make the Great Britain squad in time.â
Next up for the boys is the South West Championships at Taunton in July, when they will join around 100 King Eddiesâ comrades for the tournament.
Meanwhile there was delight too for Dove Strachan-Wills and Millie Battensby as they took gold in the grade 4 womenâs pairs with an âoutstanding performanceâ at the National Development Plan (NDP) Championships at Stokeâs Fenton Manor.
Harry Hole and Marcus Flint also claimed a first, in the grade 4 menâs pairs, while nine-year-olds Kirsten Owen and James Offer, easily the youngest participants in the grade 2 mixed pairs class, did extremely well to finish up fifth.
Other encouraging displays came from Brieanne Foster and Ellie Maggs â fifth in the grade 3 womenâs pairs â and Joe Kennedy, Finley Austin, Joel Compton and Alex Reeve, who were third in the grade 1 menâs four event.
The King Edmund contingent helped make up a sum of 500 gymnasts from around the British Isles, all of them regional finals winners in their respective areas.
High Hopes, High Quality For Our SW Stars . . .
OUR King Eddies hopefuls approached the senior South West Preliminaries at Taunton with high hopes â and judging by the haul of medals we returned home with, those expectations were perfectly justifiable!
For many of our competitors the weekend was a long and tiring one as we had to be up and at the Wellsprings Leisure Centre by 7am on the Saturday and didnât get back to South Gloucestershire until late that evening.
So while there may have been a few bleary eyes come Monday morning, there would have been some satisfied expressions on faces too after a fantastic tournament saw several of our gymnasts make it through to the national finals, to be held at Fenton Manor (Stoke) in May.
Our fab foursome in the Grade 1 menâs pairs of Finley Austin, Joe Kennedy, Joel Compton and Alex Reeve claimed a gold medal, while in the Grade 2 womenâs pairs Poppy Small and Ellise King conjured up a silver medal between them and in the same section, team-mates Rhiannon Holt and Holly Stone, and Ellie Shepherd and Sophie Noble, did well to finish-up in fourth and seventh-spot berths respectively.
Rowan Attfield and Isabella Beckhaus settled for a splendid silver award in the Grade 2 womenâs pairs out-of-age category, and James Offer and Kirsten Owen produced a fine display to walk away with gold in the Grade 2 mixed pairs event.
There was a top prize too for our Grade 2 out-of-age womenâs trio of Erica Holford, Lilly Herbert and Gracie Faulkner, and the same applied to our Grade 3 partnership of Brieanne Foster and Ellie Maggs, who clinched gold in the womenâs pairs.
Also emerging top of the pile were our Grade 4 womenâs double-act comprising Dove Strachan-Wills and Millie Battensby, who finished a little ahead of club-mates Jade Gibbs and Paige Weeks as commendable runners-up.
Ryan Bennett and Amber Thrush (Grade 4 mixed pairs) and Marcus Flint and Harry Hole (Grade 4 menâs pairs) won their respective categories, while Abigail Hipkiss, Maisy Hanham and Isobel Davey took the honours in the Grade 4 womenâs groups class.
Other King Edmund results - Grade 1 womenâs pairs: Maddie White, Sasha Sage, 16th; Megan James, Olivia Trott 33rd; Grade 2 womenâs groups: Rhian Streeter, Anna Campbell, Charleigh Mills, 15th; Grade 3 womenâs groups: Courtney Reeves, Hannah Pallot, Katie Sillick, 6th; Rachel Holehouse, Rebecca Adams, Fiona Cornick, 7th
A week later our loyal band of seven dedicated coaches and judge were overseeing the South West Prelims equivalent for aspiring lower-graded gymnasts in the region, which took place at the Gryphon Leisure Centre in Sherborne, Dorset. Again our entrants produced an excellent display of acro-gymnastics, winning medals in most of the categories we entered.
Coach John OâMahony said of their efforts: âWe felt proud and encouraged by how our fledgling gymnasts did and it certainly bodes well for the future of King Eddies.
âThey all conducted themselves well and showed what good spirit there is at the club by the way they cheered one another on.â
A round-up of how the King Eddiesâ gymnasts fared at Sherborne will appear here shortly . . .
Our Aces Hand Out An Acro Lesson At SW Schools'
UPDATED: February 8, 2013
By Simon Parkinson
KING Edmund Gym Club led the way again with some outstanding performances in the South West Schoolsâ Championships at the Gryphon Leisure Centre in Sherborne.
We took a party of ten gymnasts to the event and they didnât let down, with Shanie-Redd Thorne and Danielle Jones turning in a near-perfect performance to claim gold in the under-19 womenâs pairs category, and Shannon McClurg and Courtney Hodge narrowly missing out on the same top prize in finishing up second in the under-14 section after a âvery clean displayâ.
Tyler Kelly and Jake Underdown were also in good form to take runners-up spot in the under-19 menâs pairs, while Tyler went one better to clinch a gold medal in unison with Shanie-Redd in the under-19 mixed pairs event.
To wrap-up a great day for the club, Dove Strachan-Wills, Brieanne Foster, Jess Howard, Millie Theobald, Danielle Jones and Shanie-Redd combined to produce a great display of acrogymnastics for the enthusiastic and appreciative spectators.
Coach John OâMahony enthused: âThis was the ideal opportunity for our younger gymnasts to work with different partners in a more relaxed environment, without the pressures of more advanced levels of competition.
âIt was a fun day and everyone enjoyed themselves.â
Christmas Cheer For Our Special Coach . . .
UPDATED: December 20, 2012
By Simon Parkinson
OUR happy head coach Nikki Thorne has every reason to be celebrating this Christmas, after following in her fatherâs footsteps by achieving the same elite accolade from our sportâs official governing body.
She was presented with the British Gymnasticsâ Master Coach Honorary Award during the recent British Open Acrobatic Tournament at Stokeâs Fenton Manor, in which 12 King Eddies members took part.
Back in 1998 Nikkiâs dad Tony Wills, a highly-successful founder member and coach of King Eddies as many of you know, became one of a select band of coaches to be granted the award, while in 2010 Nikkiâs daughter Maiken Thorne, and her competition partner Mollie Grehan, were proud recipients of British Gymnasticsâ Master Gymnast hand-outs.
Delighted Nikki was presented with a medal and certificate for her âdevoted and praiseworthy service to the associationâ during a dinner break on the Sunday of the weekend-long British Open event. The award was in recognition of the many successes she has attained over two decades as a local South Gloucestershire and Great Britain coach.
She said: âItâs a real honour to win such a prestigious award. Iâm very fortunate to join a small and elite group of coaches, including my dad, who have contributed to the various different gymnastic disciplines under the auspices of British Gymnastics, including the acrobatic and tumbling side of the sport which we at King Edmund focus on.
âThe award is also testament to the wonderful staff and fantastic kids Iâve had the privilege of working with down the years, and itâs lovely too that both my dad and eldest daughter have previously received similar awards for their contributions to the coaching and performing side of gymnastics.â
Meanwhile while Nikki was the proud recipient of her coaching distinction, her youngest daughter, Shanie-Redd Thorne, was busy claiming her first British title as a fully-fledged senior alongside dependable partner Danielle Jones in the womenâs pairs class at Fenton Manor.
King Edmund club-mates Beth Foster and Courtney Hodge, who are attempting to emulate the many achievements of Shanie-Redd and Danielle during the star duoâs junior career, picked up bronze medals in the junior womenâs pairs, while Shannon McClurg, Tianna McClurg and Jess Howard finished just outside the medals after battling their way through a tough 11-16 womenâs section, containing 26 fellow threesomes, to reach the final.
In the same category Emma Cornick, Nadia Cocking and Emily Brown were disappointed to miss out on a final place but the 11-16 menâs pairing of Robert Bates and Tyler Kelly demonstrated âgood potentialâ by claiming fourth spot in a highly competitive group.
The tournament as a whole was dominated by the London-based Heathrow club, which is home, of course, to famous Britainâs Got Talent acrobatic performers Spelbound.
. . . And Football And Gymnastics DO Mix!
By Simon Parkinson
FOOTBALL and gymnastics donât usually go hand-in-hand but there was an intriguing exception to the norm when we sent an enthusiastic party of our performers to one soccer hotbed in the North East!
Nine of our gymnasts piled into a people carrier and Marie Grehanâs car for the long drive to South Tyneside, where they competed to such splendid effect in the annual Slater International Cup at South Shields.
Our exuberant King Eddies hopefuls and their mentors stayed in a nearby Premier Inn but the exciting bit was the party thrown for dozens of gymnasts from all over Britain (and a group from America!) which took place at Sunderland Football Clubâs Stadium of Light on the Saturday evening of the two-day weekend event.
Our coach John OâMahony, who knows all about revelry as he hails from Southern Ireland (!) explained: âThe party was held in the stadiumâs Black Cats Bar and while we were all there they switched the floodlights on to light up the very impressive 49,000-seat ground. On the big screen were the words, âWelcome To All The Gymnastsâ.
âIt was a nice touch and great evening with buffet and disco. The only downside was we couldnât stay up too late enjoying ourselves because we had another full day of competition to prepare for!
âTo be fair it was a long weekend for our kids with the competing and travelling, some of whom had to be up early on Monday morning for school.â
As for the business of the day, our gymnasts certainly did King Eddies proud. Eight-year-old Amber Thrush and her 14-year-old partner Ryan Bennett won a gold medal competing for the first time at the higher grade 3 level, while eight-year-olds Kirsten Owen and James Offer were silver medallists in the grade 3 mixed pairs, having gone into the tournament as national champions at Prep B level.
Shannon and Tianna McClurg, together with Jess Howard, claimed a worthy bronze in the 11-16 womenâs groups category while the inexperienced Libby Smith and Rhiannon Holt did really well to claim a ninth-spot finish in the grade 1 mixed pairs, a section which contained some 14 other teams.
Our gymnasts performed under the watchful eye of John, Marie and Jack Pothecary, one of our top former competitors who is now a student at UWE. He was enjoying his first competition as a qualified judge at the tender age of 19.
John said: âIt was a great weekend and our gymnasts did themselves and us proud. Most of the partnerships are quite new and it was good to have a chance to get them together at different levels ahead of the forthcoming competition season.â
That kicks off in earnest on November 24 and 25 when weâll be travelling north again, this time to Fenton Manor in Stoke for the British Tournament where Danielle Jones and Shanie-Redd Thorne, now safely elevated to senior status of course, will be looking to build on their superb successes over the past year while juniors.
Big Move Still on Track - Then It's Full Steam Ahead
THEREâS so much going on with the gym club on and off the âfieldâ, but the burning question everyone wants answering is this: âWhatâs happening about the proposed move to Yate Leisure Centre?â
If it seems everything has gone quiet then have no fear, silences can be deceptive and rest assured lots is happening behind the scenes. We remain hopeful that come Christmas time weâll be unwrapping a gleaming new gymnastics centre we can all rightly be proud of â the perfect gift.
Operations of this magnitude usually take time as there tends to be so many little and larger obstacles and hurdles to overcome before a satisfactory agreement can be reached. At the moment the lease remains with the solicitors of South Gloucestershire Council and weâre confident that, very soon, pen will go to paper and weâll have it signed and sealed. Then we can really begin to launch a full-scale offensive on an exciting and expansive refit!
While negotiations have continued unabated, plans for the new-look hall have been drawn up and work on the revamp has been tendered, so nothing has been standing still; quite the reverse in fact.
That said, the famous floor square weâll soon be utilising to good effect â one of six such mats used in the London Olympics â is currently in storage at Tilbury Docks in the Capital awaiting its release to sunny Yate!
Our manager Mark Thorne has been overseeing that and pretty much everything to do with the relocation and he confirmed: âWeâre making huge strides when it comes to the move. The plans have been drawn up and work tendered for and weâre very confident about a successful outcome. We have even received a generous donation from a member of the public to go towards new equipment for the building, which weâre extremely grateful for.
How much longer it will all take we donât know, but there is a possibility weâll be back at Yate Leisure Centre before Christmas.â
Mark accepted: âThis sort of thing can be frustratingly slow but it will be worth it because of the immense benefit to our many members and the community as a whole. We appreciate not much seems to be happening but there is so much going on behind the scenes and things are moving at quite a pace. Once the lease is signed it will be all systems go.â
In the meantime our current home at the Sports Shed remains in King Eddies hands and will do for the foreseeable future. If any interested and worthy party, be it a performance-related activity; fitness class or sporting organisation, wishes to get in contact with us, weâd be pleased to hear from you. Just give Mark a call on 07867 382842.
Meanwhile life goes on and we were delighted to raise around ÂŁ750 from our latest fun day at the White Lion, when so many people turned out to support the event and have a great time. It was just a shame that the Berkeley Show, which was due to take place on the Bank Holiday Monday a couple of days later ,was washed out as we were looking forward to putting on an exciting display of acrogymnastics.
Talking of the White Lion, an excellent function room has become available for use to interested parties; businesses for their conferences, perhaps, or for wedding receptions, special occasions and wakes. Again if this is something you feel will benefit you, just give Mark a call on the same number.
Fab Four Are Elevated To Senior Stardom . . .
FOUR of King Eddiesâ prized gymnasts have finally come of age â and what a hectic year on the road awaits them!
The achievements of Danielle Jones, Shanie-Redd Thorne, Jake Underdown and Christopher Child have been well documented on our website and in the local media but things will never be the same again as they bid farewell to junior competition in order to undertake senior duties.
Our classy quartet are targeting a Great Britain place for the World Games in Columbia next summer eager to emulate - and maybe better - the achievements of club-mates Maiken Thorne and Mollie Grehan, who won bronze medals at the games in Taiwan in 2009 (was it REALLY that long ago?).
The fantastic four will also be taking part in a series of World Cup events, which starts in March 2013 in Portugal and takes in Belgium, Bulgaria and Russia, before they jet-off to Lisbon for the European Championships next October.
Before then Shanie-Redd, Danielle, Jake and Chris will be competing alongside 13 of their King Eddiesâ comrades in the British Tournament at Stokeâs Fenton Manor over the weekend of October 20/21, which brings the curtain down on a magnificent year for the club as a whole.
SW Showpiece Can Catapult Our Kids To Success
OUR dedicated team of coaches believe the clubâs successful showings at this yearâs South West Championships can act as a springboard to bigger and better things for our young gymnasts.
Competitions at Sherborne and Taunton, for the younger and more established acrogym performers respectively, reaped another healthy collection of medals for King Eddies.
In the preparatory B mixed pairs class at Sherborne, James Offer and Kirsten Owen followed up recent successes elsewhere by convincingly landing gold, while Jamesâ younger sibling Amy Offer did superbly well to secure a top prize too, in tandem with Anna Campbell in the prep A womenâs pairs category.
Coach Kellie Chapman insisted: âBoth pairs showed real potential in winning their sections by good margins and weâre very pleased at the way theyâre progressing.
âJames and Kirsten are now looking forward to moving up to the next grade and theyâre good examples of what can be achieved if you approach your sport with dedication and enthusiasm.â
The foursome werenât alone in celebrating gold medals in the Sherborne showpiece, as Thomas Brander and Emily Jones (prep A mixed pairs), Mark Hansell and Alex Reeve (prep B menâs pairs); Henry Skidmore and James Williams (prep A menâs pairs) and Talea Le-Garde and Sasha Sage (prep B womenâs pairs) all triumphed.
There was a bronze medal for Maddison White and Katie Sillick in the grade 1 womenâs pairs while Georgia Hennessy and Megan Streeter, and Sarah Friis and Olivia Millward, each gained silver medals with identical scores as prep B womenâs duos.
Medal achievements in the novice trio category came the way of Anna Campbell, Georgia Hennessy and Kirsten Owen (silver), and Rheanna Dennis, Maddison Small and Abigail Clothier, who were just pipped into third spot by their second-placed club-mates.
And while they didnât quite finish among the medals, Katie Newman, Zoe Norcombe and Katie Sillick finished a respectable fifth in the grade 1 womenâs out-of-age group, having only joined forces as a trio the previous week.
Other King Edmund Sherborne results; prep A womenâs pairs: Holly Davies, Charleigh Mills, 6th; Suzi Holt, Maisie Shinton, 8th; Zoe Norcombe, Caelyn Walker, 12th; novice trios: Morgan Baber, Talea La-Garde, Sasha Sage, 4th; Erica Holford, Lily Herbert, Grace Faulkener, 5th; Rosie McWilliams, Millie Cox, Megan Streeter, 6th; Chloe Connor, Evie Arpino, Lucy Taylor, 8th.
Meanwhile the SW Championships staged in Taunton, for those performing at a higher level of acrobatic gymnastics, proved an intriguing one for King Eddies as it pitched several of our new partnerships into the fray for the first time.
Beth Foster and Courtney Hodge, who we believe are poised to follow in the footsteps of the highly successful Shanie-Redd Thorne and Danielle Jones, attained second position in the junior womenâs pairs, beaten only by Gabbie Cousins and Chloe Gunter, of Bristol-based Harriers, who had trialled for the world championships last year.
Another new King Eddies trio, Danni Wide, Morgan Caldicoat and Lily Foster, came an admirable third in the junior womenâs class, while Lilyâs sister Brieanne Foster claimed silver in partnership with Jess Randall and Katie Alner in their final competitive outing together in the same section.
There were notable displays by Jade Gibbs and Paige Weeks who, spurred on by proud coach Tony Wills, clinched gold in the grade 3 womenâs pairs, where little Ellie Maggs and partner Rachel Child did âextremely wellâ to land fifth position.
In the same section Molly Mason, who had joined King Edmund only a few weeks prior to the event, performed above expectations to come fourth in conjunction with Beth Nolder.
Chris Child and Jake Underdown won gold in their maiden senior menâs assignment, as did the quartet of Joe Kennedy, Morgan Hill, Finley Austin and Joel Compton as a grade 1 menâs grouping.
There were first prizes too and gold for Jess Howard and Georgie Hutchinson (grade 2 women pairs); Rebecca Adams and Amber Thrush (grade 2 women out of age); Josh Smith and Harry Hole (grade 3 men); Abigail Hipkiss, Gemma Ponting and Isobel Davey (grade 3 women); Dove Strachan-Wills and Millie Battensby (grade 4 pairs) and Millie Theobald, Shannon McClurg and Tiana McClurg (grade 4 group).
Other King Edmund Taunton results; 11-16 women: Nadia Cocking, Emma Cornick, Emily Brown, 2nd; Carmen Benham, Hanna-Jay Silverthorn, Rhian Streeter, 6th; 11-16 menâs pairs: Tyler Kelly, Robert Bates, 2nd; 11-16 mixed pairs: Marcus Flint, Molly Britton, 2nd; junior women group: Rosie Hatherell, Lauren Gardiner, Anais Walker, 7th; grade 2 women group: Ellie Sheppard, Leigh-Anne Challis, Sophie Noble, 3rd; Courtney Reeves, Hannah Pallot, Elise King, 6th; grade 2 womenâs pairs: Rhiannon Holt, Libby Smith-Robinson, 5th; grade 1 women pairs: Rachel Holehouse, Holly Stone, 10th; grade 2 women pairs out of age: Rowan Atfield, Poppy Murphy, 2nd; grade 2 mixed pairs out of age: Ryan Bennett, Amber Thrush, 2nd; grade 3 women group: Elisha Muscat, Maisey Hanham, Fiona Cornick, 2nd.
* While a 22-strong party of King Eddies gymnasts are now preparing for the forthcoming and prestigious 12th International Winti Cup event in Zurich, we are also gearing up for our annual fun day for families, which takes place at the White Lion Hotel in Yate on Sunday, August 26 (noon-4pm).
There will be martial arts and gymnastic displays among other sporting and dance demonstrations; face painting, stalls, BBQ and bouncy castle. Entry is free.
A day later, on Monday, August 27, our busy gymnasts will be performing at the Berkeley Show.
It's True, We're Moving - On A ÂŁ50k Dream Ticket!
WEâVE been waiting with bated breath for what has seemed a lifetime but things really ARE starting to happen â weâre on the move at last!
Granted, there are one or two loose ends to tie up on the legal side, but the announcement today that weâre to receive significant funding to go towards an expansive overhaul of Yate Leisure Centreâs former bowls hall has set the pulses racing and means our dream of relocating to the bigger and better confines of the leisure centre is set to become a glorious reality.
With all the negotiation, red tape and contentious debate that has prevailed over the past few months, we finally sit on the brink of a new, brighter dawn, which will ensure the future of our thriving club is in safe hands, and that weâll have a facility capable of delivering an even higher standard of international acrogymnastics compared with what weâve been used to over the past three decades or so, and thatâs saying something!
Weâre proud to reveal that the leisure centre is to receive a major revamp, made possible by a ÂŁ50,000 award to us by Sport Englandâs Inspired Facilities fund which enables us to carry out a complete renovation of the former bowls hall.
As those longer-serving members of King Eddies GC know, we had previously enjoyed the use of facilities at the leisure centre before relocating to our current home at The Sports Shed three years ago.
While the Shed has been worth its salt in many ways, and the club has continued to enjoy top-notch success at home and abroad, weâve also become increasingly cramped and you all know how difficult it has been to find a parking space during peak times! It goes without saying that weâve all appreciated your patience and continued support.
It was for these reasons, and the fact that we now have a membership of some 1,000 children of all ages and abilities, that we made a play for a return to the leisure centre once it became apparent the centreâs operators, Circadian Trust, was making the bowls hall available to a local club or organisation worthy of exploiting its potential.
Little did we know that weâd not only be granted permission to claim the hall as our own but that weâd be getting a ÂŁ50,000 makeover to boot courtesy of funding being distributed by Sport Englandâs Places People Play programme, the official legacy fund from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The money will enable King Eddies to transform the hall into an all-year-round, state-of-the-art gymnastics centre, which will give elite gymnasts from the region a first-class training base to develop their skills and offer coaches the perfect environment to carry out their duties.
The expansive refit will include the building of a new reception area, offices, refreshment facilities and a multi-sensory room for disabled children. The complex will be re-branded Yate International Gymnastics Centre, to cater not only for current and future King Edmund GC members but serve the wider community and aspiring gymnasts from other corners of the region.
Our club director Mark Thorne has been working tirelessly behind the scenes with his colleagues to try and bring about the best possible outcome for the club and he told the website: âWe are absolutely thrilled. We missed out in the first round of applications for funding but we were able to secure it on round two.
âWinning this fantastic amount of money comes on the back of the great news weâve just received at being given the go-ahead to return to Yate Leisure Centre.
âThe money will go a long way to ensuring we can provide a truly magnificent venue for the hundreds of children of all ages we serve, whether it be our very young ones or elite internationals, of which we have many.
âThere remain a few legalities to sort out with the council, a few âiâsâ to dot and âtâsâ to cross, but things are moving fast now and weâre optimistic that weâll be calling the leisure centre our home sometime in October.
âWe reckon it will take up to six weeks for the refit to be undertaken and then weâll be ready to move in, and in all honesty we canât wait!â
Mark added: âThe hall will incorporate two international-standard sprung floors, one of which will initially be used in the Olympics for the gymnastics!
âWeâre also delighted that weâll now be able to provide a multi-sensory room for disabled children, their carers, and people with special needs.
âWe have promised councillors, the Circadian Trust and local community that we will deliver a first-class sports provision that Yate and the surrounding area can be proud of.â
By receiving Inspired Facilities funding, Yate Leisure Centre will now carry the Inspire mark, which celebrates the link to the London 2012 Games.
Pictured are Great Britain hurdler Tasha Danvers (extreme right), who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, plus King Eddies gymnasts Shanie-Redd Thorne (left) and Danielle Jones (right) with a representative from Sport England
Rising Eddies Aces on Course For Bright Future
FIVE of King Edmund Gym Clubâs rising starlets appear on course for a glittering future given their splendid showings at a prestigious competition in Stoke-on-Trent.
Millie Theobald, Shannon McClurg and sister Tianna McClurg won gold representing the South West region as a womenâs grade 4 trio during the British National Development Plan (NDP) finals, while their club-mates Beth Foster and Courtney Hodge did likewise, also as a grade 4 pairing, at the same Fenton Manor event.
Proud head coach Nikki Thorne said: âTheir performances were outstanding and you could see from the outset they were going to be head and shoulders ahead of their rivals.
âWe know theyâre capable of high-calibre performances because they compete in the elite grade 4 bracket and thereâs little doubting the national coaches present will have taken note of their achievements.
âOur three-girl trio came fourth in the same event this time last year so to get gold this time around showed fantastic progression.
âAll five girls have put themselves in contention for a Great Britain call-up, although because Tianna is still only 10 and has to be 11 to become eligible for the step up, sheâll need to be patient a little while longer!â
The NDP acrogymnastics event is staged by the sportâs governing body British Gymnastics annually to give the UKâs top coaches and selectors the chance to monitor the performances of up-and-coming talents through a regional competition. And King Edmundâs fab five werenât the only gymnasts from the Yate club to shine in Staffordshire.
Grade 2 menâs pair Josh Smith and Harry Hole claimed a bronze medal in a fiercely-competitive category that included members from the successful Heathrow and Deerness Valley clubs, and while Leigh-Anne Challis, Libby Smith and Rowan Atfield didnât quite make it on to the medal podium as a grade 1 grouping, they did perform âextremely wellâ according to Nikki.
âJosh and Harry did so well to finish third because they were easily the youngest boys competing in their section aged 13 and 9 respectively and they were up against some experienced and capable competitors,â Nikki explained.
Kirsten, James Come of Age on National Stage
WHILE our elite gymnasts were basking in bronze medal fun in the Florida sun, two of our fast-emerging competitors and their enthusiastic team-mates were ably demonstrating why the clubâs future is in safe hands!
A determined group of our younger starlets were given the chance, on the strength of Februaryâs SW Championships success, to represent the South West in the inter-regional acrogymnastic finals in Southampton.
The upshot was that two of our most promising performers, Kirsten Owen, of Abbotswood School in Yate, and James Offer, who attends Raysfield Juniors in Chipping Sodbury, emerged victorious in the Prep B mixed pair category at the tender age of eight, fending off the strong challenge of several rival regions across the UK to become national champions at their level.
And they certainly had to maintain poise and composure in order to achieve it as their counterparts from the South team, Jack Lynch and Abigail West, pushed them all the way, missing out on gold by a mere fraction with an overall mark of 25.30, compared with Jamesâ and Kirstenâs 25.33!
While they were our only South West representatives returning home with medals, other members of the King Eddies contingent, coached by Sue Carslake and Maiken Thorne, showed they too have bright futures. Mark Hansell and Alex Reeve (menâs Prep B), Poppy Smith and Katie Sillick (womenâs prep B), plus Millie Cox, Morgan Baber and Emily Jones (womenâs prep B group) all did themselves proud, while Grade 1 womenâs duo Rachael Holehouse and Suzi Holt battled gamely.
âTo be national champions at the age of eight shows to me that Kirsten and James are heading in the right direction,â our head coach Nikki Thorne emphasised.
âThey are among the new generation of children we introduced to the competition group when we first started at the Sports Shed in 2009.
âJames and Kirsten have been working together for a couple of years now and theyâve proved much can be achieved through dedication to their sport and the right mental approach to it.â
Kirstenâs happy mum Lisa said: âKirsten has been going to King Edmund GC since she was four and she loves it! She has done three competitions this year with James and theyâve won gold in each.
âKirsten has seen what Shanie-Redd (Thorne) and Danielle (Jones) have achieved in the World Championships and at other big events, and she wants to be just like them!â
Of her success, Kirsten enthused: "I'm really proud of myself and James. I'm glad we have came first in all our competitions this year and I hope I can be as good as Shanie and Danielle in competing around the world and winning gold medals. I also enjoy my training."
Jamesâ equally delighted mum, Sarah, added: âLike Kirsten, James has progressed really well since starting as a gym tot at about three years old. They won a gold medal together at Sherborne last year and it gave them a little taste of success, although he takes it in his stride and still loves his football with Yate United!
âThere were 11 regions competing against each other at Southampton so we didnât expect too much from our two, so we were surprised and delighted when they got the gold. It had been very exciting throughout, following the scores as the competition wore on.
âJames takes it all in his stride and he gets a bit embarrassed, but his school has been very supportive and he happily took his medal in to show them.
âThe party at the White Lion Pub to mark all the recent club achievements was great too.â
Brilliant King Eddies Aces Strike World Bronze
FOUR King Eddies' competitors are proudly parading bronze medals following their success at the World Age Group Acrobatic Championships in Florida.
Men's pair Christopher Child and Jake Underdown, who went into the Lake Buena Vista event in Orlando as reigning 11-16 age-group world champions, stepped up to the junior
12-19 category to brilliantly clinch
third place representing Great Britain behind the victorious Russians and second-placed Belarus.
And it was a similar outcome for the women's duo comprising Shanie-Redd Thorne and her partner Danielle Jones, who too finished third behind onlyRussia and Belgium respectively to secure bronze for a Team GB contingent returning home with three gold, four silver and three bronze medals from the age-group section of the championships, an "incredible achievement" according to the camp's head of delegation Sandra Sargeant.
Two of those medals came courtesy of the Yate quartet's own exploits, prompting King Edmund and Team GB coach Nikki Thorne to glow: "It was an awesome effort by all four of our gymnasts and a massive achievement for the club to have more 'hardware' of such distinction brought back to South Gloucestershire.
"All the routines were clean and all the effort and commitment from the families involved leading up to the championships richly paid off. These results can only generate more interest in our club and we can look forward to the future with even more local children in the community taking up gymnastics."
Shanie-Redd, like her team-mates Christopher and Jake, had experienced the world championships stage before, having won a gold medal at the games with then-partner Kaman Mitchell as 11-16 mixed pair competitors in the 2008 Glasgow event.
She and 13-year-old Danielle have enjoyed a rich period of form as a partnership of late after winning gold at the British Tournament in Stoke-on-Trent in December, where Chris and Jake also carried off the top prize in their section.
The girls followed up that success last month by winning British Championships gold in the junior women's pair's competition at the same Fenton Manor venue, when Chris and Jake did well to claim a silver medal in the equivalent junior men's class.
Like Mothers, Like Daughters - Just Champion!
SHANIE-REDD Thorne and Danielle Jones are British acrobatic gymnastic champions â just as their proud mums were more than two decades ago!
The King Edmund Gym Club starlets went one better than their silver medal success last year when they claimed gold in the junior womenâs pairs section at the recent Fenton Manor showdown in Stoke.
Fifteen-year-old Shanie-Redd is the daughter of King Edmund head coach Nikki Thorne, who triumphed at the British Tumbling Championships in 1988. Three years later Danielleâs mother, Farrah Young (now Jones), emulated that feat by leaping to become Britainâs top acro-gymnast in tandem with Gill Harris and Claire Sweetland.
In more recent times Nikkiâs eldest daughter Maiken Thorne celebrated gold medal status at the event with the help of Mollie Grehan, while both Nikki and Farrah were coached by Nikkiâs father, Tony Wills, during their days of high-level competition.
As for Shanie-Redd and Danielle, their latest achievement caps a string of recent successes at international events and the British Tournament at Stoke, when they fought off fierce competition to take gold in December.
That victory effectively secured the girls a place in the Great Britain team preparing hard for this monthâs World Championships in Orlando.
Nikki smiled: âItâs quite something that some 20 years and more later Farrah and me are celebrating British Championship gold again, this time through our daughters!
âIt was a brilliant achievement by them, given they were beaten into second place last year by two girls who had represented Spelbound in Britianâs Got Talent a couple of years ago. It certainly sets Danielle and Shanie-Redd in good stead for the World Championships.â
King Edmund enjoyed other encouraging showings in the latest British Championships. Jake Underdown and Chris Child, who are also on the plane to the forthcoming World Championships, came second in the junior menâs pairs, pipped to the post by their counterparts from Durhamâs Deerness Valley club.
âWe will be up against that pairing again in the âWorldsâ and Jake and Chris will be doing their utmost to gain a gold this time,â a determined Nikki insisted.
Jess Randall, Katie Alner and Brieanne Foster achieved a personal-best fifth placing at Stoke, while Beth Foster and Courtney Hodge came an admirable sixth in the 11-16 section.
Hanna Jay-Silverthorn and Rhian Streeter performed splendidly to narrowly miss out on a finals place in their first outing together at the level, and Beth Nolder, Anais Walker and Lauren Gardiner finished up a respectable sixth in the 11-16 group final.
King Eddies Quartet Target A World Fourth!
FOUR of our most decorated performers are flying out to the United States this month in the hope of striking club gold â for a FOURTH time!
Shanie-Redd Thorne, Danielle Jones, Christopher Child and Jake Underdown came through a vigorous trials and selection process at Lilleshall to gain a place in the Great Britain acrogymnastics team jetting off to the world championships in Orlando between April 16 and 22.
King Eddies know all about the prestigious games, having claimed gold medals in each of the past three world championships staged every two years. Shanie-Redd, 15, won the top prize in 2008 with former partner Kaman Mitchell, while in 2006 Britainâs Got Talent winner Douglas Fordyce and Shelley Evans triumphed as a mixed pair in Portugal.
Jake Underdown and Chris Child are reigning 11-16 age-bracket champions who have been promoted to the junior 12-19 section for the forthcoming Orlando showpiece.
King Edmund head coach Nikki Thorne, who is also aboard the travelling party as a Great Britain coach for the April championships, said: âAll four of our gymnasts are coming into form at the right time. They have shown tremendous dedication to their training and they have received wonderful backing from their families.
âWeâre not going to put pressure on them by saying they should win their respective groups but theyâre certainly capable of it.
âThe two boys and Shanie-Redd have previous world championship experience and while this will be a first for Danielle at the age of 13, she did finish fourth in the European Championships balance final in Bulgaria in October with Shanie-Redd, so she is accustomed to the big stage.â
The entire King Edmund club have rallied to support the medals bid. Some ÂŁ600 was raised to help fund the quartetâs long-haul at the White Lion Hotel in Yate, where popular local band the Funkee Monkeez performed an array of their eclectic mix of music.
âThey were fantastic and the night as a whole was well supported,â Nikki added. âIt was great to see so many people willing our four gymnasts on in such a fun way.â
Shanie-Redd, Danielle Are Our Golden Girls
UPDATED: December 23, 2011
SHANIE-REDD Thorne and Danielle Jones produced an outstanding exhibition of acro-gymnastics to win a gold medal at the British Tournament in Stoke-on-Trent.
In doing so the King Edmund junior womenâs pairing all but guaranteed themselves a place in the Great Britain team jetting off to the World Championships in Orlando this April.
Our junior menâs partnership of Jake Underdown and Christopher Child also did well to clinch gold, despite not quite performing to their usual high standard according to (demanding!) head coach Nikki Thorne.
She maintained: âThe boys still have a great chance of getting into the Great Britain team but they do face stiff competition from their counterparts at Deerness Valley Gym Club (County Durham).
âTo be fair everyone was tired after taking part in the Ivybridge event (see below) the week before but we were absolutely thrilled by the performance of Danielle and Shanie-Redd, who won gold by a considerable margin.â
Not content with that, King Edmund also had silver medallists in the 11-16 menâs four team comprising Ryan Bennett, Marcus Flint, Josh Smith and Robert Bates, a terrific achievement as they were competing at their first British Tournament.
The same applied to 11-16 menâs pairing of Tyler Kelly and Simon Alliston, who took a deserved bronze medal in a tough and competitive group.
Nikki Delighted by Slater Cup Showing
NIKKI Thorne has heaped praise on King Edmund gymnasts involved in the annual international Slater Cup tournament at South Tyneside.
Courtney Hodge, Carmen Benham and Beth Foster claimed silver medal in the static routine, while established junior duos Jake Underdown and Christoper Child, and Danielle Jones and Shanie-Redd Thorne, each returned equipped with a maximum triple gold-medal haul.
Also shining were Morgan Caldecoat, Chelsey Bennett, Lily Foster, Mollie Grehan, Lauren Gardener, Brieanne Foster, Beth Nolder and Emily Brown.
Head coach Nikki explained: âWe use the competition as a means to identify and iron out anything that might stand us in better stead at the British Tournament (see above article).
âEveryone competed well while the majority of our gymnasts performed in their respective partnerships for the first time, so they left Tyneside with heads held high.â
Ivybridge Arts Fest Is Just A Treat
AN enjoyable time was had by all at Ivybridge School in Plymouth, where a large group of our gymnasts took part in a performing arts show.
We found ourselves rubbing shoulders with local and international schoolchildren and college students sent to Devon from as far afield as Russia and Germany, in order to gain knowledge and experience as part of their own national curriculums.
Head coach Nikki said: âIt was an amazingly colourful and spectacular few days of performing arts, ranging from dancing and singing to gymnastics, of course.
âAll our gymnasts travelled down by train on the Wednesday ready to perform that same evening, while Jake, Chris, Shanie-Redd and Danielle stayed on to perform twice on the Friday.
âEveryone handled it very well because they were on stage until 11.30pm and had to be up at 7.30am the next day to train.
âOur gymnasts, especially our wonderful eight-year-olds, got a great reception from audiences of 300 and more, and our âbigâ ones looked after our little ones really well, which was lovely to see.â
Ivybridge Seniors: Shanie-Redd Thorne, Danielle Jones, Jake Underdown, Chris Child, Mollie Grehan, Lauren Gardener, Brieanne Foster, Carmen Benham, Beth Foster, Courtney Hodge, Tyler Kelly, Jess Howard
Ivybridge Juniors: Dove Strachan-Wills, Millie Battensby, Libby Britton, Elisha Muscat, Georgie Hutchinson
Marvellous Mollie Calls It A Day
ONE of our most outstanding gymnasts of recent times, Mollie Grehan, has called time on her career at the ripe old age of . . . 17!
She has retired in order to concentrate on her sixth form studies at Castle School but leaves behind her fond memories of some top displays with King Eddies.
âMollie has been one of our outstanding performers in the womenâs pairs with Maiken (Thorne),â head coach Nikki Thorne stressed.
âThey won bronze in the World Games in Taiwan and came second in both the Senior European Championships and Junior World Championships.
âSince then she has gone on to record another magnificent achievement â in becoming godmother to Maikenâs baby Esmee!
âIt goes without saying that we all wish Mollie well in whatever the future holds for her.â
Sports Shed Opens Doors to Spanish Guests
KING Edmund Gym Club have been playing host to two Spanish coaches from Granada. They visited us for a week to gain valuable knowledge and insight into how we, as a top British club, operate, with a view to taking some of that know-how back to their own clubs in Spain with them.
âThey wanted to see how we function and it was nice that they chose us for their little fact-finding mission,â head coach Nikki remarked.
Duo Strike Gold In Maiden Euro Triumph
UPDATED: November 11, 2011
KING Edmund Gym Club are celebrating a first-ever European Acrobatic Championships gold medal-winning success thanks to the exploits of Christopher Child and Jake Underdown.
While finishing a creditable fourth overall in the junior menâs pairsâ event at the games in Varna, Bulgaria, the deadly duo scooped top prize in the âdynamicâ discipline, one of three separate categories offering medals for grabs.
The achievement is all the more remarkable given that Chris, 16, and Jake, 13, representing Great Britain together with King Edmund team-mates Shanie-Redd Thorne and Danielle Jones, are still allowed to compete in the 11-16 age bracket, for which they are current world champions.
But they stepped up to junior level (12-19 age) effortlessly to see off strong challenges from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Holland and clinch that prized gold medal for the Yate-based club.
As for Shanie-Redd, 15, and Danielle, 13, they too performed above their normal age group to represent GB as a junior womenâs team and were desperately unfortunate not to claim a medal themselves, after being nudged by a mere fraction into fourth position by the Belgium pairing in the âbalanceâ final.
King Edmund head coach Nikki Thorne, herself representing GB as one of two junior coaches on call in Bulgaria, confessed: âGiven that the rise from 11-16 competition to junior standard is such a big one, we didnât go to Varna expecting anything if weâre honest.
âSo for Chris and Jake to win the dynamic section was a wonderful surprise and the fact it was King Edmundâs first-ever gold at the Euro Championships just capped it all.
âThe moves they had to perform would not have been out of place in the senior section, so weâre thrilled.â
Of the girls, Nikki maintained: âWe couldnât have asked any more of Shanie-Redd and Danielle and it was really down to the fact they were an unknown quantity among the judges that they didnât come home with a medal of their own.â
Maiken Delivers New Generation Of Gym Star . . .
EVERYONE at King Eddies GC would like to extend hearty congratulations to our long-serving (and suffering!) gymnast Maiken Thorne and her partner Mitch.
They are celebrating the birth of daughter Esmee and we all wish the fledgling family well for a happy future together.
The arrival of little Esmee could not have been a more timely one â just a week before happy (new!) grandmother Nikkiâs big trip to Bulgaria. Nik was acting as junior coach to the Great Britain team competing in the European Acro Championships, which included our own fab four of Chris, Jake, Danielle and (new auntie!) Shanie-Redd.
âSuffice to say I had quite a lot on my mind around that time with preparations for that and Maikenâs situation!â Nikki confessed. âBut everything worked out perfectly, with Jake and Chris winning a gold medal, and of course myself and Mark are very proud parents and grandparents, if not coming to terms with it a little still!â
Artistic Encounter for Our Acro-Gym Aces
MANY of our young and VERY young gymnasts (see foot of this article) are gearing up for two exciting events over the next few weeks!
During the weekend of November 26th and 27th weâll be taking a party of 14 performers to South Tyneside again for the Slater Cup, an international competition staged annually in memory of the host clubâs top former gymnast and coach Sharlene Slater, who so sadly lost a seven-year battle against leukaemia in 2008 at the tender age of 22.
Hot on the heels of that is a date at Ivybridge School in Plymouth, between December 6th and 9th, when weâll be among several and varied acts partaking in an annual âperforming artsâ showcase.
Our head coach Nikki explained: âIt started off for us with just Maiken (Thorne) and Mollie (Grehan) representing us at the event a few years ago and since then Jake (Underdown), Chris (Child), Danielle (Jones) and Shanie-Redd (Thorne) have all been involved.
âThey wanted us to deliver a bigger show for them this year so weâll be taking a new generation of our gymnasts, aged between 7 and 8, to perform our popular Yateâs Got Talent routines. It will be a big thing for the children as theyâll be leaving their parents behind for this one!â
Slater Cup party: Shanie-Redd Thorne, Danielle Jones, Jake Underdown, Chris Child, Morgan Caldecoat, Chelsey Bennett, Lily Foster, Carmen Benham, Beth Foster, Courtney Hodge, Rosie Hatherell, Jessica Howard, Beth Nolder, Emily Brown.
Ivybridge Event: Shanie-Redd Thorne, Danielle Jones; Jake Underdown, Chris Child; Tyler Kelly, Simon Alliston; Mollie Grehan, Lauren Gardiner, Brieanne Foster; Carmen Benham, Beth Foster, Courtney Hodge; Elisha Muscat, Libby Britton, Georgie Hutchinson. Up-and-Coming Squad: Dove Strachan-Wills, Millie Battersby.
Nik Enters Final Straight In Olympic Torch Shake-up
KEEP your fingers and everything else crossed for our head coach Nikki Thorne!
Having overcome two hurdles thus far, Nik has reached the final stage of the selection process for carrying the Olympic Flame as part of the traditional torch relay, which makes its customary start in Greece and is due to arrive in the United Kingdom on May 18 before reaching the South and West a few days later.
More than 1,000 towns, cities and villages will get the chance to witness their own, nominated torchbearers in action as part of an 8,000-mile trek around the UK, and weâre all hoping Nikki will be involved somewhere along the line after receiving nominations from none other than King Eddies GC!
The torchâs 70-day tour is scheduled to end on July 27, when it will be carried into Londonâs Olympic Stadium and used to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony.
International Success Lands Us Prestigious Award
GUESS what â King Edmund GC has received prestigious local recognition for our feats at home and oversees.
Because of our success at the World and European Acro Gymnastics Championships, we are to be presented with the University of Bath Award for âpromoting internationalismâ during the academic year 2010-11.
Shanie-Redd Thorne and Danielle Jones have been chosen to represent King Edmund GC and receive the award on our behalf at the Ridings Federation of Academies presentation evening on Thursday, November 24, which takes place at the Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building, University of Bristol (7pm).